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DURING his incumbency as Acting President of the Carnegie 
Corporation from 1921 to 1923, Dr. Henry S. Pritchett 
brought to his aid in the study of the affairs of the Corpo- 
ration, Dr. William S. Learned, his associate on the staff of the Car- 
negie Foundation. Dr. Learned gave particular consideration to library 
problems, and prepared a memorandum giving the fruits of his study 
in this field. This memorandum was written for office use, with no 
thought of publication, and represents a personal point of view and not 
an official one. It seemed nevertheless to the Trustees of the Corporation 
to be so interesting and stimulating a presentation as to deserve a 
larger audience. 


The Carnegie Corporation of Nero York. 

June 21, 1924. 






A. "News" 5 

B. Knowledge^ other than News^ Available in Print 5 

(1) Instruction for Youth 6 

(2) Lack of Provision for the Adult 6 

(B) New Demands for an Organization qf Knowledge 

for Adult Use 7 

(4) Basic Features qf an Organisation of Knowledge 
for Adults 8 

(5) A Community Intelligence Service 12 
(a) An Intelligence Personnel IS 
(6) The Reorganization of Important Knowledge 17 

C. Knowledge and Understanding derived from Sources 
other than Print 20 

(1) Lectures 21 

() Museums 22 

(3) Motion Pictures 22 
4 The Fine Arts 24 




A. General Library Service at Cleveland, Ohio 27 

B. Specialization in Libraries 33 

(1) Business Library at Newark 33 

(2) Municipal Reference Library at Cleveland 34 


(3) Teachers* Library at Indianapolis 34 

(4) Departmental Specialization 35 

C. Distribution of Books 36 

D. Differentiation of Personal Service 38 
(1) General Adult Education 38 
(3) "Ame'ricanization" 40 

(3) Lectures 46 

(4) Clubs 46 

(5) Schools 47 

(6) Hospitals 49 

(7) Prisons 50 

(8) Special Information Services 51 

E. Library and Inter-Library Extension 54 





A. Preparation of Library Material 59 
(1) Technical Aids 59 
(&) Interpretive Material far the Reader 60 

B. Library Extension 62 

C. Library Personnel 63 
















Library appropriations made by Andrew Carnegie and 

by the Carnegie Corporation^ 1897-1923 83 


MAPS: Between 84 and 85 

I. Communities possessing public libraries of 1000 volumes 

or more in 1896 
II. Communities possessing Carnegie library buildings in 

III. Communities of 1000 population or more in 1988 pos- 
sessing public libraries unaided ty Carnegie funds 





fe . . . To promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understand- 
ing among the people of the United States" CHARTER OF THE CARNEGIE CORPO- 

TO bring about the discovery, formulation, and diffusion of true 
and useful ideas is the charter purpose of the Carnegie Corpo- 
ration. This was considered by its founder to be the fundamental 
method of human progress. Indeed, most of those who believe intelli- 
gently in a progressive civilization probably depend largely upon this 
threefold process for its continuous achievement. A clear appreciation 
of what is implied in the different features of the operation is therefore of 
great importance to those who would consciously promote human welfare. 
The distinction between discovery and spread, between " advance- 
ment" and "diffusion" of ideas, is clear, but it is often largely a matter 
of one's social philosophy or temperament as to which is considered to 
be of the greater importance. These two great processes of civilization are 
not mutually antagonistic. Rather, they are complementary, for accurate 
knowledge thoroughly diffiised is, in the long run, the best possible pre- 
paration for fresh discovery. Nevertheless, the two functions are com- 
monly pursued with a certain difference in temper owing to differing 
points of view. Some who have been most anxious to discover new truth 
have been most indifferent to its propagation, while others who have 
zealously undertaken to instruct mankind have appeared to be most 
careless as to the correctness of their gospels. The two processes must 
proceed together. 


Of the functions just indicated, those of formulation and diffiision 
of knowledge are in many respects the more difficult. Given a skilful 
investigator and the necessary facilities, research proceeds; most of the 
perplexing human factors are eliminated. The average laboratory man 
when sufficiently endowed desires chiefly to be let alone. 

Diffusion is another matter. Knowledge, however important, must be 
prepared in a great variety of ways for a great variety of minds, or it 
fails to take hold. The child, the adolescent, the adult, the expert, the lay- 
man, the wise, and the foolish each brings to it his own peculiar back- 


ground and reaction, which must be anticipated and taken advantage 
of if knowledge is to function successfully in his case. The extraordi- 
nary variety of recent attempts to set forth the Theory of Relativity il- 
lustrates this fact. Professor Einstein irritated the pride and challenged 
the pedagogy of the American mind when he announced that few could 
understandhisconception,andforthwith there appeared aflood of books 
and monographs, articles in newspapers and periodicals, and even ver- 
sions for the screen, each professing to make it simpler than the last, and 
mostof them aimed atthe"average man." When diffusion is left to itself 
each individual appropriates such elements as chance to fit him ; when, 
on the other hand, it is made a positive, conscious process, its efforts 
at adaptation may not cease until the knowledge functions correctly in 
the mind of the recipient. To bring this about requires extensive or- 
ganization, intelligently maintained and skilfully directed. 

Moreover, the systematic diffusion of knowledge encounters no in- 
considerable social obstacles. Knowledge brings with it fundamental 
and far-reaching changes in conduct, often of an unexpected and some- 
times of an apparently undesirable nature, especially in certain transi- 
tional stages. With some classes of adults, as with children, a little 
knowledge is a dangerous thing. Those who spread ideas must be will- 
ing to have things changed as a result of their efforts, and not all are 
ready to face the contingency that such changes may be partial and not 
wholly to their liking. 

As is the case, too, with other human institutions, agencies that exist 
for diffusing knowledge tend to become perfunctory and conventional, 
and unless continually revitalized, they gradually cease to deal with 
the knowledge that is most important or else pervert its distribution. 

Thus to engineer the preparation and successful diffusion of the most 
important knowledge is a task of great delicacy, while it is at the same 
time perhaps the most significant social task in which a community 
may engage. 

Themachinery for the spread of knowledge and understanding among 
the people of a community exhibits a remarkable variety of origin and 
character. From the earliest tribal conclaves set up in order to facili- 
tate military, religious, or political control, to the modern newspaper, 
advertising agency, or university, the uniform object has been to secure 


solidarity of thought and action through the general inculcation of a 
set of common ideas. The ways of going about this have been diverse in 
the extreme, and are so to-day, except that as certain bodies of know- 
ledge, desirable from one point of view or another, have emerged, they 
have been organized into formal disciplines primarily intended for the 
young, and schools, from kindergarten to professional, are the result. 
Ignoring transitional forms, three different types of "knowledge" 
may be broadly distinguished as requiring separate treatment. 

A. "News" 

The first type is essentially "news" the flood of ephemeral print out 
of which is selected the limited group of facts that orients for each his 
daily life. The newspapers and periodicals possess this field, and furnish 
as excellent models of diffusion in their well-nigh universal contacts, as 
of qualitative bedlam in their ideas. Everything that possesses con- 
ceivable "news value 5 * is pitched into the furnace of publicity. There 
public opinion treats and reduces it, drawing off at last for permanent 
use a product dependent upon the quality and acuteness of its own in- 
sight. Within necessary limits a scientific news service like that of the 
Associated Press may develop to great perfection, and there is much, 
evidence of progress through sheer commercial enterprise and competi- 
tion. Most communities will doubtless leave this type of knowledge to 
commercial exploitation, although an endowed establishment permit- 
ting a freer, abler, and more selective report of current affairs than pop- 
ular advertising can usually be made to support is among the dreams 
of many a journalist. 

B. Knowledge, other than News, Available in Prmt 
The second and more substantial type of knowledge is the whole 
range of verified scientific fact, matured judgment, and products of the 
constructive imagination generally incorporated into books. This field 
includes nearly all that is clearly known and much of the best that 
has been thought and felt by man. Out of it comes the preparation 
and suggestion for each step by which the individual, and with him 
the race, advances; the comfort, criticism, and inspiration whereby he 
holds his ground and maintains his confidence. Its contents should be 
promptly and easily accessible to every degree of intelligence in a form 
that commends itself for immediate appropriation, if the process of 
universal education is to become a practical reality. 


(1) Instruction for Youth 

As already observed, the formal, active administration of a part of 
this knowledge has been developed thus far almost solely for the young. 
For childhood, youth, and earliest maturity such material as intellec- 
tual leaders have deemed essential has been arranged according to the 
age and degree of advancement of the pupil; and it has been sought 
thus to erect a sort of platform on the crest of past achievements 
whence the new generation may begin its flight. The obviously special- 
ized requirements of immature minds, the personal desire to give youth 
the best possible start, and the deep-seated belief that social welfare 
depends upon so doing, sufficiently explain these activities. 

() Lack of Provision for the Adult 

Yet with all this elaborate and boasted provision for the wholesale 
instruction of youth, at a cost which constitutes much the largest single 
item in expenditure from the common funds, the conscious and syste- 
matic growth in knowledge of the adult community has been almost 
overlooked. School graduates at every stage have listened to the solemn 
declaration that their education "has just begun," yet aside from the 
lessons of experience and the meagre gleanings from desultory reading, 
the vast majority have not consciously continued a process which the 
school has tacitly assumed to be its own exclusive province. 

Of course, a very great amount of so-called adult education is now 
proceeding at every turn. There are books and periodicals in profusion; 
the great American "lecture" habit is still tenacious; universities offer 
numberless correspondence and extension opportunities, while the ef- 
forts of religious groups, "Chautauquas," women's clubs, workingmen's 
associations, community forums, and similar undertakings seem to 
indicate a feverish intellectual activity. 

While commendable in spirit, much of this activity lacks purpose, 
and the greater portion of it, certainly, lacks the cumulative sequence 
necessary to give it significant and lasting value. A vague ambition or 
sheer boredom in face of mental idleness impels many to "take up" 
year after year what proves to be an unrelated series of ill-chosen 
fragments of study offered without alternative and really well suited 
to but few of the participants. Made up on a democratic basis, the 
group usually includes such wide extremes of ability and preparation 
as to rob the course of genuine pertinence for any, and is often held 
together, if at all, by social rather than by intellectual considerations. 


Exception should be made of students, teachers, and others engaged 
professionally in intellectual pursuits, who, as in extension courses, are 
making headway in a planned and ordered scheme of study. This is 
essentially school work. 

In other words, -the American adult is not generally trained, as in 
some schools pupils of the upper elementary grades are trained, in the 
technique indispensable to self-education, namely, the getting of ideas 
independently from books. Furthermore, he has on leaving school no 
clear conception of a curriculum in all or any branches of learning 
whereby, on following a definite sequence of ideas contained in books, 
he may arrive at a mature comprehension of that field. And, finally, there 
is no institution available in which he properly feels at home, where the 
existence of such a curriculum, the manner of its mastery, and the tools 
required in the process are attractively set forth in appropriate terms. 
A good college catalogue, supplemented by personal advice and sugges- 
tion at the institution, may accomplish this in a limited number of fields 
for a very small and select class of young persons; otherwise, with rare 
exceptions, it does not exist. 

(3) New Demands for an Organization of Knowledge for Adult Use 

There are everywhere indications that our American society is on 
the eve of a much more thoroughgoing organization of its intelligence 
service than has hitherto been attempted, and this too, primarily, 
though not exclusively, in the interests of adults. The array of real 
and pseudo-educational endeavors just cited a list that might be 
greatly extended is evidence enough that the school and college have 
long since burst their walls and overflowed, carrying their methods and 
scholastic content into conditions of a quite different nature from those 
under which their procedure originated. Clearly, the sort of thing that 
school and college have hitherto been supposed to represent is in great 
general demand. The acquisition of orderly and trustworthy knowledge 
is no longer to be considered as an esoteric mystery locked up in an 
institution and available only for the young and for professional 
teachers; self-education with intimate relation to daily interests and 
activities must be recognized as a natural process of mental growth 
that responds to a constant and legitimate craving of the intelligent 
adult which continues, if properly gratified, throughout life. The ex- 
isting borrowed and imperfect methods taken over from the schools 
have revealed this hunger and made it articulate; the present problem 


is to develop a technique suited to the satisfaction of its peculiar 

Another form of pressure toward some rational and economical 
organization for distributing knowledge appears in the rapid accumu- 
lation of vast masses of information which makes imperative some 
means of selection, digest, or abridgment whereby any one who needs 
them may gain possession of essential facts without delay and without 
discouraging or prohibitive effort. Every form of human activity has 
been stimulated by the phenomenal improvement in speed and accu- 
racy of communication, and by the consequent increase in area over 
which experience may now be readily assembled and compared. The 
result is that each separate activity, both new and old, is rapidly devel- 
oping its own literature. "Selling," "advertising," "the policing of 
crowds," "raising money for colleges," "title-writing for motion pic- 
tures," become "sciences "almost over night, and formulate principles 
and procedure that must be passed along. Important and voluminous 
data flow in to-day from every country on earth more freely than news 
from the neighboring county thirty years ago. Because of this ever in- 
creasing volume and complexity of information, even the trained stu- 
dent finds the time required thoroughly to examine a topic in an un- 
familiar field almost prohibitive, while aggressive minds not accustomed 
to using books are shut off from resources that might multiply their 
effectiveness many fold. 

(4) Bask Features of an Organization of Knowledge for Adults 

The ultimate nature of an organization calculated to make know- 
ledge wieldy and appropriable for general use must of course be deter- 
mined by industrious experimentation. There is, however, one principle 
that will certainly prove to be fundamental: Any organization for this 
purpose must place its chief emphasis on such skilful adaptations as shall 
render the necessary information suited to the recipient and to his needs. 
Whether for adolescent or adult use, it is probably possible so to 
prepare and make available the knowledge that we now possess that 
the average rational individual can apply for information or instruc- 
tion in any item that may serve his purpose, and receive it, if not as 
promptly, at least as satisfactorily, say, as he may purchase at a rail- 
road station a ticket that will see him through to any destination on 
the line. As was discovered in many an educational enterprise during 
the war, it is a question chiefly of the suitable preparation and hand- 


ling of information and of its skilful administration in the interests of 
the enquirer. This presupposes a thorough knowledge of the latter's 
character and requirements, and reduces the problem so nearly to that 
which confronts the schoolmaster that one may best turn thither for 
a brief elucidation. 

The enormous increase in the diffusion of knowledge through schools 
during the past century has run parallel with the development of two 
kinds of discovery, and has been largely contingent upon them: One 
of these has been the progressive recognition and definition of mental 
and emotional traits, characteristics, and types of reaction in pupils of 
various ages, temperaments, and conditions of life; the other has been 
the progressive trial and testing of an almost infinite number of adapta- 
tions of important knowledge to the varied and peculiar combinations 
of character and mentality so disclosed. Without these enabling re- 
sources, education in schools could have reached but a small group. One 
has only to imagine what would result from the application of the an- 
cient rigid curriculum and logical method inLatin grammar and formal 
mathematics to the pupils of a modern high school! Mental training 
and the discipline of clear thinking, which were formerly sought solely 
in the content of traditional subjects, are as widely necessary as ever, 
but they are needs that run parallel to the informational need, and are 
not to be confused with it. The sharp attention that is properly their 
due in no way invalidates the truth that any body of ideas is assimi- 
lated just in so far as its elements are discriminately applied in view 
of the particular background and mental state presented by any indi- 
vidual pupiL 

Hence the paramount importance of skilful teaching. Indeed, -the 
criticisms of modern* schooling from top to bottom its perfunctori- 
ness, its machine processes, its superficiality, its frequent eagerness for 
spectacular variety, its tolerance of irrelevant activities, its sacrifice of 
serious moral standards all of these weaknesses, wherever they exist, 
are traceable directly to conditions tiiat result in neglect of the one 
thing needful, namely, the free, unhampered performance of a person who 
knows the material to be taught, and who understands and is devoted 

to youthful Tnrnrls r 

The significance of a]! of this school experience in dealing with the 
general problem of diffusing knowledge among adults is profound. The 
school, to be sure, has certain factitious elements presumably invented 
or applied in order to render the acquisition of knowledge either rapid 


or economical. The constraint of school and class organization, the for- 
malized method, the personal rivalry and emulation, the diplomas, de- 
grees, and prizes, the family and social sanctions all of these are ex- 
traneous to the task actually in hand, and often greatly impede it. On 
the contrary, the inculcation of ideas in the adult who is not in school 
is free from such distractions, and the problem for the community at 
large is in this respect greatly simplified. Here the teacher's success is 
measured by the extent to which each individual may be confronted 
with what he most desires to know in that form in which he can most 
completely appropriate it. The attitude of such a one is more nearly 
that of the precious, but usually diminutive, school group that gathers 
about the teacher after class to push the subject further, and shows an 
active hunger that brings to the teacher his best moments. The adult 
knows beyond question, what is still often unclear to the youth, that 
his satisfactions depend upon his own mastered resources, and is most 
appreciative of that which leads most directly to their mastery. 

Because of this simplified problem the great increase in understand- 
ing of how minds operate and what materials best suit certain condi- 
tions of thought and experience has had immediate and far-reaching 
application in the diffusion of knowledge at large, and the effect has 
been striking. In journalism and commercial advertising, for example, 
the results achieved through an application of simple psychological 
principles are too numerous and too well known to require enumera- 
tion. Every form of "propaganda," whether openly direct or cunningly 
subtle, owes its success to the same factors. In every considerable organ- 
ization having continued dealings with the public, an officer, or a whole 
division, is set apart for conducting the necessary "publicity"; and so 
important is it to know the state of mind of the individuals to be af- 
fected and to adjust the material in hand accurately to that state of 
mind, that the execution of this service is often held responsible for the 
success or failure of the enterprise. 

Iii a less spectacular but no less pervasive fashion the same forces are 
at work revising the whole field of communicable knowledge with a view 
to its effective consumption. Because of segregation according to age, 
the school community represents a series of relatively homogeneous ca- 
pacity- and interest-groups, although wide variations are recognized. 
The community at large, on the other hand, is extraordinarily diverse; 
it is a unit only in its broadly adult point of view, and requires analy- 
sis of personal predilection and educability that is often as baffling as 


it is varied. Yet wherever seriously undertaken it has generally proved 
true that for each rational mind knowledge can be so appropriately 
prepared that it will "take"; an enlightened community apparently 
has the power, if it chooses, to see that each individual member is in- 
formed according to his capacity. 

Illustrations of this effort to adapt important knowledge to special 
types of users may be drawn readily from projects in which the Car- 
negie Corporation is now cooperating. Thus the American Society for 
the Control of Cancer bends a goodly portion of its energies to stating 
what is now reliably known about cancer, and to publishing this infor- 
mation as widely as possible not only among physicians, but in simple, 
non-technical terms also among laymen. The American Child Health 
Association is essentially a demonstration and "propaganda" agency, 
and has put exceptional pedagogical skill into the literature and other 
publicity with which it seeks to create public sentiment for child health. 
The Immigrant Publication Society studies carefully the need and point 
of view of the newly arrived immigrant, and assembles in a variety of 
forms and in many languages the facts tiiat will be of most service to 
him in making his way in a strange country. 

In the field of economics alone three so-called research organiza- 
tions have received funds from the Corporation, all of which make it 
their chief function to assemble and interpret available economic data, 
and to set forth their conclusions in such form as directly to affect the 
conduct of the average intelligent citizen. Thus the National Bureau 
of Economic Research recently issued a compact and authoritative esti- 
mate of the income of the United States a notable antidote for the 
misinformation of the average soap-box orator. The Institute for Re- 
search in Land Economics makes studies, and is preparing to issue bul- 
letins that should be of value to purchasers of real estate and securities 
of public utilities. The Institute of Economics at Washington is plac- 
ing its major emphasis, not on gathering fresh facts, but on furnishing 
trustworthy interpretations of existing data that concern important 
economic problems. 

These and hundreds of other agencies like them, together with a 
multitude of independent authors, are turning out daily a great amount 
of material suited to the varying needs of various types of individuals, 
and in some cases bearing on the fundamental requirements of all in- 
dividuals. Most of this product trickles through publishers* notices, 
book reviews, news items, and into libraries and title-lists where, for 


lack of a suitable distributing medium, it soon lies smothered and use- 
less so far as the great majority of the population are concerned. Mean- 
while the questions that it could answer, the ambitions and struggles 
that it could promote and assist, the unrecognized needs and oppor- 
tunities that it could reveal are teeming in the minds of men who either 
know no recourse for satisfaction, or have no time for a laborious search. 
The daily losses in energy and material that result from sheer igno- 
ranee on the part of otherwise intelligent persons of how to avail them- 
selves of the contents of books must be colossal beyond all calculation. 

(5) A Community Intelligence Service 

The remedy for this situation is simple and promising. Strong tend- 
encies now apparent in many progressive cities indicate the ultimate 
development in most communities of an institution where a great range 
of useful information available in print may be secured authoritatively 
and quickly. It will be a center as familiar to every inhabitant as the 
local post-office, and as inevitably patronized. It will constitute the cen- 
tral intelligence service of the town not only for "polite" literature, 
but for every commercial and vocational field of information that it 
may prove practicable to enter. Merchants will find there catalogues and 
trade lists; builders and plumbers, the technical books of their crafts; 
students, old or young, the orderly progress of books or materials in any 
important study; clergymen, the best works and periodicals dealing 
with religion; motorists, the latest road maps and touring guides; and 
artists, both technical works and comprehensive collections of pictures. 

Obviously such an institution in a small town will not possess an 
extensive collection of books and materials, but it will be in close 
working connection with towns and cities where such collections are, 
and where answers to questions, photostat copies of reference matter, 
and books on loan can be speedily secured at a trifling fee. With such 
connections the resources of a great part of the country may be made 
available for a relatively small circle. 

Most towns of five thousand inhabitants now maintain a good high 
school and a considerable number of well-educated teachers for a small 
group of adolescent youth. It is rather absurd to suppose that a town 
even of this size cannot make corresponding provision for its entire 
adult population when it perceives what a service of no larger pro- 
portions adjusted to its adult needs might mean. At present such a 
community typically offers no local facilities dealing with important 


knowledge and information aside from a weekly newspaper, a few 
churches, one or two moving-picture houses, a woman's club, and, if it is 
'fortunate, a library passively open for a few hours on week-day after- 
noons. The bulk of the town's new ideas are derived from newspapers 
and periodical literature that originate outside, that are subscribed for 
by a few interested minds, and that have no evident bearing upon the 
concerns of the locality. 

Yet all the activities of such a community are going vigorously 
forward on a competitive basis; the adult motives for the application 
of appropriate ideas are strong and alert; there is a large amount of 
leisure or wasted time; and the community is usually a stable, intel- 
ligent, homogeneous unit capable of united action. In general, con- 
ditions are favorable for mature and purposive behavior. 

It is the ideas that are lacking in this situation; not the will to use 
them. Persons are needed in advantageous positions of leadership, not 
pledged to a special "cause," but set to watch the people at work, to 
study their ways, to discover helpful ideas that they can appreciate, 
and to direct their attention either casually or systematically to the 
wealth of serviceable things in print. This, to be sure, is putting the 
community to school, but in a manner completely in keeping with the 
methods, desires, and requirements of the adult, and not in an imita- 
tive transfer of the procedure characteristic of school and college. Such 
procedure will doubtless have its place, but -the principle of successful 
approach to the practical educational service of adults will probably 
prove to be of quite a different sort, 

(a) An Intelligence Personnel 

The conspicuous and indispensable feature of such an institution as 
has been proposed is a well-specialized personal service, precisely as this 
is the sine qua non of a successful college. The purpose of an intelli- 
gence service is first to overcome the reluctance people have to seeking 
information, and later to maintain their interest and support by sup- 
plying just the information required in the form in which it can best be 
utilized by the person in question and in a manner that invites repe- 
tition. This is a task for an expert possessing personal tact, quick intel- 
lectual sympathies and appreciation, a thorough knowledge of a cer- 
tain field of material, precision and discrimination of thought, and the 
power promptly to organize results. 

These are not excessive requirements and can be met provided the 


respective fields of knowledge are made sufficiently narrow. Many ref- 
erence agencies that now exist defeat their purpose by placing in charge 
a staff assigned to the entire universe. Only the vaguest and most cas- 
ual service can be expected of such "experts." Applicants for informa- 
tion are handled on the principle of turn and turn about, a procedure 
that is comparable to rotating courses alphabetically among the in- 
structors on a college faculty. Yet the demands for differentiation both 
in the extent of ground covered and the peculiar treatment required 
by each successive applicant in the adult group are far more exacting 
than in any college. The reference expert at an adult intelligence center 
must command all of the college teacher's familiarity with the litera- 
ture of a strictly limited field plus the power which the college teacher 
may, and often does, lack completely, namely, the power speedily to 
read his applicant's mental equipment and point of view, and to sense 
intuitively the character of his personal need. Failure here is not a case 
where the careless student can be held accountable, but where a short- 
sighted instructor fails to interpret an interest and to supply the de- 
mand. The present result of such failure is that serious enquirers simply 
do not apply for such trifling service as is to be had. 

It is important that such a person as has been described be accessible 
easily, and not after long waits and explanations by reference up the 
line through subordinates who cannot help the enquirer. It is impor- 
tant that the service go farther than placing a pile of strange books or 
other printed material on the table before an applicant. The acquisi- 
tion of knowledge is forbidding for many chiefly because it is housed 
in books, and the extraction thereof is itself an art. In certain fields, 
and to some extent in all fields, this inhibition operates on all students. 
For trained workers with books the technique of limited departments 
of knowledge soon becomes automatic and rapid, and should be at the 
enquirer's disposal. Very many applications can be answered directly, 
by telephone or in writing, in terms of ideas instead of books, with per- 
haps a reference to a single book where the idea is best stated. The net 
result of all such service should be to simplify and invite instead of to 
bewilder and repel; each patron should come to realize that all the re- 
sources of the institution will be folly utilized in giving him promptly 
what he needs, if that can be discovered. 

Systematic study could be greatly facilitated by this type of assistant. 
Some will always find regular study difficult without a formal teacher. 
There are, however, numberless minds (and these ipso facto the best 


worth helping) so naturally independent or already so well trained as to 
require only the occasional sympathetic and illuminating touch of one 
who actually knows the ground well, to cover rapidly and profitably 
one field after another. Instead of the present blank outlook, specific 
curricula in terms of books leading logically from the beginning to 
the terminus, pro tempore, of every branch of knowledge should be pre- 
pared and made conspicuously accessible. The community could well 
afford to guarantee the necessary books and tools for all such students. 
The cost would be negligible when compared with the great expense 
now required to maintain them in elaborate educational institutions, 
and the results might be found to compare not unfavorably. Certainly, 
a considerable modification would ensue in our ideas of what it is neces- 
sary or advisable to press upon young people in high school and col- 
lege were it possible to rely confidently on an institution which, after 
they leave school, would lead any of them who had ability and real in- 
clination through the best that is known in any field of learning. 

The type of service above outlined, though of the foremost impor- 
tance, is bub a passive background for the proper function of a true 
community intelligence personnel. This function is actively aggressive. 
A college or high school staff does not content itself with answering 
questions, but finds its central activity in discovering advantageous ways 
of preparing and presenting important material to students for the pur- 
pose of arousing their progressive interest. The similar task of commu- 
nity analysis confronting the staff of an intelligence center is quite as pre- 
ponderant, and covers an immensely wider range, both of personal and 
group interests, together with a far greater variety of mental attitude 
among its beneficiaries. Its business is not only to answer but to raise 
educative questions in as many minds as possible ; it must not only inter- 
pret the dream, but for many persons it must provide the dream as well. 

It is at this point that the service here described becomes significant 
as the decisive factor in the future handlingof knowledgefor community 
use. A municipality of the size, say, of Akron, Ohio (08,000), has 
in its elementary and high schools a staff of nearly 1000 teachers for 
some 33,000 pupils. It has a municipal college of eight or nine hun- 
dred students taught by fifty or sixty professors and instructors. It is 
hardly unreasonable to assume that such a city will in the near future 
be employing a group of at least a score of selected, highly trained, and 
experienced persons of expert attainments who with their assistants 
will constitute an intelligence service for the one hundred and fifty odd 


thousand adults whose formal education has ceased, but who are now 
in a position to make sound practical use of appropriate ideas. Each 
of these experts will be in charge of one particular field of knowledge, 
and it will be his business, by every possible device, to disclose the gen- 
eral aspects of that field to all the citizens of Akron, and its finer appli- 
cations to those whose interest it specially concerns. When a valuable 
book on new processes in rubber manufacture appears, the technical li- 
brarian will immediately see to it that the Akron factories are furnished 
with a good description of the book and an estimate of its precise value 
to them. When a specific treatment for diabetes is announced, the medi- 
cal library expert will be the first to be informed, and will thereafter be 
a source of reliable information both to physicians and laymen, concern- 
ing the development and availability of the remedy, seeing to it that 
the news is spread among the laggard doctors. If fresh designs and color 
combinations are unearthed in ancient Egyptian pottery, the art divi- 
sion at once calls the attention of the Akron potters to the possibili- 
ties of their utilization. Outside fact-finding bodies, such as have been 
already referred to, learn that in Akron information should be depos- 
ited with the intelligenceservice; thatthence it will automatically reach 
its furthest destinations. 

These men and women will necessarily become in turn the most dili- 
gent students of the community they serve, A labor group desires to 
study the economics of taxation; a woman's club plans.a course in litera- 
ture; a class of telephone girls undertakes to explore radio. The auto- 
matic appeal in every case is to the corresponding representative of the 
city's intelligence staff, whose problem is to turn so much available 
energy to the best account. His business is to make important knowledge 
through books popular; and by talks, lectures, and interviews, he en- 
deavors throughout the city to prove how valuable and available the 
contents of books in his field really are. 

Taken as a whole, this staff would be the popular driving force in 
scientific education, both adult and adolescent. It would encroach as 
rapidly as possible upon the present appalling waste through enforced 
idleness without suitable mental occupation. Special provision could 
readily be made to attract the able-bodied unemployed. The collective 
years of discouraged convalescence on hospital beds, where some easily 
discovered book would bring not only vitalizing relief but permanent 
profit, would at last come to an end. The rapid degenerative effects of 


hopeless mental idleness among prisoners would receive the simplest of 
all remedies something interesting to think about. It is unbelievable 
the extent to which the most intensely motivated situations have been 
ignored in adult education, because of failure to use even such suitable 
tools as are already available in print. In similar case are sailors on long 
voyages, firemen or police on station duty, and many types of operatives 
in purely mechanical pursuits. To one book station, a fortunate farmer 
recently reported that his enterprising wife had read aloud to him over 
ninety books that year while he milked his cows! An immense num- 
ber of practical opportunities for a diffusion of service simply await the 
advent of the trained, unconventional mind that sees things as they 
are, and has courage and skill to proceed. 

It is clear that public servants of this quality and capacity would soon 
hold an exceptional place in any community. They would be the real 
pilots of its social, intellectual, and economic life the linesmen alike 
of its material and spiritual power, bringing knowledge and need to- 
gether, not for the remote appreciation of the immature, but for the 
immediate ripened reaction of the adult. Mere grubbers in books ac- 
cording to professional tradition or a prevalent conception of a public 
librarian will not do. They must indeed understand their several fields 
of knowledge, but they must understand the world of men as well or 
better; their excellence is measured by their power to connect the two. 
They must have sensitized minds that in addition to a good education 
possess quick insight into new relations and novel applications. They 
must watch their community and attend its professional gatherings, 
not primarily to advertise their services, but to discover how know- 
ledge in books may be selected and arranged the better to meet the 
changing demands or a shifting point of view. They should work be- 
neath the surface in terms of truth and a wiser world. Achievements 
such as these are wholly practicable and when understood would receive 
distinction. Such counselors, constituting a sort of new clergy of "the 
mind, would open a fresh career that could not fail to appeal power- 
fully to capable men and women. 

(&) The Reorganisation of Important Knowledge 

In addition, and secondary only, to an adequate personnel, a suc- 
cessful intelligence service requires an enlarged and diversified organ- 
ization of the ways of getting knowledge and a simplification of know- 
ledge itself. 


A movement of almost revolutionary significance, but essentially of 
this nature, is the recently organized American Law Institute. At pres- 
ent both lawyers and judges are engulfed in a mass of precedent and 
statutory legislation, the bulk of which creates difficulties that go far to 
weaken the principle on which judicial procedure in this country rests. 
The Institute proposes by carefully guarded processes to restate the 
principles of law involved from point to point, thus, it is hoped, en- 
abling the courts to discard the vast and often conflicting accumula- 
tions wherein the principle has hitherto been embedded. The result is 
not intended to constitute an official code, but to furnish an authori- 
tative aid in determining what the law is, and should contribute im- 
measurably to the relief and health of judicial processes. 

The systems by which certain professions collect and digest new in- 
formation of importance are less spectacular, but of great service. The 
monthly review of medical and surgical literature and reports pub- 
lished by the Journal of the American Medical Association constitute 
an invaluable channel of pertinent, trustworthy fact, stripped of un- 
necessary verbiage, and calculated to keep the practitioner sensible of 
the advance in his science. The engineers not only do this, but have 
their engineering library place its classification marks on each item in 
proof before publication. The subscriber is consequently in a position 
to cut the periodical at once to fit a universal filing system. 

Besides the development of agencies for sifting and condensing know- 
ledge itself, a process that is everywhere continually in progress, there 
is the need, already mentioned, for recasting ideas to suit a special age, 
attitude, or point of view. The propagation of an idea, like the mak- 
ing of a photograph, requires that a properly prepared surface be ex- 
posed under suitable conditions to an object on which there is suffi- 
cient light. Experience has shown that a large part of the assumed per- 
versity of youth in the face of an education has been traceable to the 
fact that one or more of these conditions were not present. So also a 
great part of the original sin residing in the "stupid," "lazy," or "in- 
different" adult has disappeared when knowledge for which he is pre- 
pared is well presented to him under adequate illumination. Many au- 
thors address themselves naturally to the limited audience of their own 
class, to whom alone their ideas are of importance. Students of Gaelic, 
or philatelists, or bridge players usually possess in common certain ex- 
clusive bodies of ideas on a fairly uniform level. There are wide fields, 
however, that must be reworked repeatedly for different types of men- 


tality and experience. This adaptation of material to the diverse needs 
of a normal community both in respect of quality of reader and of the 
varying amounts of leisure available is the most pressing pedagogical 
problem in the spreading of ideas. The best of personal service can 
scarcely avail if good tools of this sort are lacking. 

Certain types of aid are suggestive of wide extension. For example, 
there should be available at every intelligence center, for a nominal 
price, a series of readable syllabi covering practically all knowledge in 
brief coherent units of treatment. Each should be prepared by an ac- 
knowledged authority in the subject, should be handled in a cordial, 
personal manner not without humor (think of William James!), like 
the informal conversations of a friend, and should be interwoven with 
specific references to books, pages, and paragraphs where the best elab- 
oration of the point in question may be found. Thus in a few hours 
a layman could acquire a comprehensive view of, say, modern Ameri- 
can poetry and its significance through the eyes of some eminent critic 
and writer who would leave the reader with the impression of having 
had a personal letter on the subject. Authority, lucidity, vitality, and 
brevity would be the desiderata in these monographs ; they should have 
wide circulation, and their successful authorship might well convey 
distinction of peculiarly rare quality. 

A somewhat similar treatment of great divisions of knowledge has 
recently taken shape in a series of "Outlines" of history, literature, 
art, and so forth, the object of which is to present a brief, readable sur- 
vey of what is alive and significant to-day in a given field, and to give 
to it such an organic reworking that a vivid, coherent impression of 
the whole will remain. To do this successfully requires extraordinary 
abilities lest the product become insipid with generalities, but as a 
source of good tools for general education the field for honest work in 
prospective drawing of this sort is inexhaustible. 

Fresh knowledge of widespread, practical importance in many fields 
is in urgent need of collation and interpretation in interesting, appli- 
cable form. What the National Health Council has done with its sim- 
ple and authoritative booklets on certain aspects of human health, is 
typical of a presentation that should be universally available wherever 
the undisputed essentials of human welfare are concerned. 

Great advance is possible likewise in the extent to which the intro- 
duction into various abilities and skills may be conducted through 
printed matter independently of a teacher, as commercial correspond- 


ence schools have long since discovered. Existing material of this kind 
is multifarious and of most uneven quality, so that the novice is soon 
at sea, whereas a collection of carefully prepared matter for such pur- 
poses, if under wise supervision, would offer a great service. 

Consider further the single case of two lists of books on any sub- 
ject, one giving solely the title and author, the other including a brief 
but careful annotation of each with an extract from a competent review. 
The first sets the reader a very short distance on his way, misleads him 
perhaps to a detailed treatise when he needed a brief summary, or bores 
him when he could have been entranced. The other takes the place of a 
wise and discriminating friend who tells the reader frankly what he may 
expect, and guides him to material that he can use. Library catalogues 
are hopelessly and needlessly dumb. 

It is in the attempt to meet this need that certain active adminis- 
trators of existing book collections have been most successful in their 
contacts with the public. Bibliographies more or less carefully prepared 
and annotated, and differentiated for a great number of special pur- 
poses, have made books far more available than they would otherwise 
have been, and have no doubt created the habit of reading in multi- 
tudes of adults who would not otherwise have acquired it. Any profes- 
sional worker in this field will admit, however, that the possibilities for 
valuable service of this nature have scarcely been touched. 

In this whole problem of the adaptation of written material to in- 
dividual needs it must be remembered that in the case of the intelli- 
gent adult, who is anxious to learn, probably 95 per cent of the avail- 
able "pedagogy" that fits his case can be put on paper, either in the 
organization of the subject or in the instructions for its pursuit. In the 
hands of a competent library expert, therefore, such matter becomes a 
surprisingly effective substitute for a teacher. 

C. Knowledge and Understanding derived from Sources other than 

There is a third classification of knowledge which may be made to 
include impressions received from a variety of sources other than books 
and periodicals. In so far as these forms make positive contribution to 
the welfare of the individual or of the community, they will doubtless 
be increasingly utilized, until some or all of them shall come to be main- 
tained by the community itself. 


Several of these forms lend themselves to ready association with the 
kind of intelligence organization that has been described. 

(1) Lectures 

Better usually than to read a book is to hear its contents described 
or retold and enforced by a striking and colorful personality. Much of 
the newest material not yet committed to print is to be had only 
in this manner, and when the talk can be illustrated by good pic- 
tures, the impression is about as vivid as it is possible to make it. The 
passion of the intelligent American for listening to lectures where the 
personality of the lecturer counts, as well as the ideas he utters, is 
characteristic of the direct, hand-to-hand attitude of the pioneer from 
whom he is descended, and is an excellent thing to foster, provided the 
practice does not degenerate into an incoherent dilettanteism. Espe- 
cially valuable is it where such lectures from abroad are the outgrowth 
of a well-considered plan by which the local staff can stimulate prepa- 
ration through reading, and can follow up the interest by further use 
of books. 

Asa medium of influence for the permanent staff itself, facilities for 
lecture and conference purposes would be indispensable. Frequent talks 
of an informal nature by the expert in a given department, closely fitted 
into the use of books by habitual readers, would lend interest and con- 
tinuity to their thinking, and add much to the vitality of the institu- 
tion. There would be constant opportunities for combining interested 
readers into study groups of a homogeneous sort and of promoting, 
through this interaction of reading and of personal stimulus, the real 
satisfactions of each individual. 

University extension courses and lectures have been familiar in Eng- 
land and in this country for many years, and have performed an ex- 
ceedingly beneficent work. They are, however, precisely what the name 
implies : courses of strictly academic character, organized after the uni- 
versity model, and given by a university instructor outside of the walls 
of the institution, but often for university examinations and credit. 
Such courses will always be an educational asset in any town fortunate 
enough to command them. 

For courses of this type the proposed organization would provide a 
home and tools, together with whatever coSperation of staff members 
might be desirable. The very existence of a well-administered commu- 
nity institute would be a standing invitation to the nearest university 


to establish its courses there. With books and expert staff available, 
excellent conditions would be guaranteed. Nevertheless, it should be 
emphasized that the true genius of the contemplated institute would 
be of another sort. Less formal, less governed by tradition, and wholly 
uninterested in any examinations, credit, or degrees, it would consti- 
tute the first powerful and aggressive community agency for education 
to be operated directly and solely in the interests of knowledge and its 
applications for their own sake as might be required by any member 
of the community. 

() Museums 

Closely allied to the service of distributing knowledge through books 
is that involved in the temporary or permanent display of some of the 
objects discussed in books. This has no reference to the useless, but al- 
most indestructible, accumulations from indiscriminate donors that fill 
the cases of many existing museums and collections. If the museum be 
well organized, every article in it is "alive," and bears definitely upon 
some living human concern. The labels and descriptions really inform 
and even entertain. The purpose is, wherever possible, to exhibit 'pro- 
cesses of growth, of manufacture, of historical development, illustrative 
in each case of an important, coherent idea; to import exhibits from 
other museums; to encourage manufacturers to display the educative 
features of their products; to present objectively the facts of civic 
growth and needs with a view to future changes; to assemble perma- 
nent collections of unquestioned worth that are suited to the particular 
requirements of the community. 

This type of museum is an aid of the first order both to general in- 
telligence and to specific enquiry, and fits admirably into a general 
organization for these ends. 

(8) Motion Pictures 

The remarkable development of the moving picture as a vivid and 
accuratemeans of illustration has fully justified early expectations. It has 
captured by far the leading place as a source of entertainment in com- 
munities of all sizes, and is gradually making its way as an educational 
factor. Both of these fields have a legitimate claim to attention here. 

The educational function of moving pictures, having encountered 
mechanical and economic obstacles, has not as yet assumed the impor- 
tant place which seems potentially to belong to it. The machine itself 


is still somewhat too elaborate to suit either the purse or the conven- 
ience of the ordinary school classroom; and the difficulty of stopping, 
turning back, and repeating a section for purposes of instruction has 
prevented many from adopting it. Furthermore, the commercial distri- 
bution of educational films has been and still is a problem. There are 
no comprehensive, descriptive lists available for the customer, nor any 
convenient arrangements whereby desirable films may be secured when 
discovered. A further reason, and possibly the main cause, for this re- 
tarded development rests in the fact that the real burden of bringing 
out the educational film has been tacitly left to the commercial pro- 
ducer, who very early found it financially unprofitable, and gave it 
little further attention. 

These are aJl conditions that in time will be overcome. That the 
motion picture in itself is unsurpassed as a means for visual instruc- 
tion, any one who has followed the pictured analysis of the construction 
of a motor car used in the army can testify. Many processes of natural 
or artificial growth, most forms of procedure and fabrication, delicate 
surgical operations, ultra-rapid or extremely slow motion all lend 
themselves to film treatment with great gain in lucidity and vividness. 
Such films are bound to become an indispensable aid to the lecturer 
and demonstrator, and even to the users of books without personal in- 
tervention; they doubtless will eventually be available at convenient 
centers as books are now. A great variety of public institutions and 
private commercial firms are apparently ready to prepare pictures of 
their processes and products having first-class scientific value as soon 
as a demand for them can be assured. 

The use of motion pictures as a source of entertainment in connec- 
tion with a community intelligence center may require some explana- 
tion. If so, the main ground is that thoroughly fine entertainment, 
while not necessarily "instructive" in the narrow sense, has that within 
it which contributes an elusive but very precious element to "know- 
ledge and understanding. 5 * It cannot be ordered and systematized in 
the form of learning, but if its quality be kept high, its effect may be 
equally important. A good way in which to ensure its excellence is to 
associate it with other interests of high character, on the basis of muni- 
cipal criticism and support. 

To many parents in cities throughout the land the existence, in close 
connection with a library of books, of a theater where the finest ob- 
tainable pictures would be daily m displayed, free from the vulgarity, 


indecency, and trite sensationalism of the average commercial picture 
house, would be a boon unspeakable. No arrangement under modern 
conditions could offer superior opportunities for building up in young 
people a sound taste that would react steadily into good books and other 
forms of mental satisfaction. The fiction section of the modern library 
with all its serious weaknesses is, on the whole, a decided asset because 
of its service in relaxation and entertainment. A moving-picture sec- 
tion, conducted in the same manner, would be subject to complete selec- 
tive administration as fiction is not, and when fully developed might 
prove a still more powerful influence even with adults. 

(4?) The Fine Arts 

Since the provision of Mr. Carnegie's "wise extravagancies" for Pitts- 
burgh, 1 two decades ago, popular ideas regarding the fine arts and their 
significance have undergone a pervasive and refining change. This has 
been due in part, at least, to a steadily advancing popular education, 
to a reaction from the materialistic preoccupations of pioneer days, 
and to increasing contacts with Europe, particularly in the form of 
immigrant representatives of art-loving peoples, who, of whatever class, 
have brought with them a native appreciation and a solid tradition of 
respect for music, opera, drama, and the graphic arts. The time is ap- 
preciably nearer when funds raised by taxation will be devoted to such 
forms of art as a matter of course. For promoting human "under- 
standing" they are unsurpassed and require no defense. 

The beginnings of such endeavors in America are everywhere to be 
found. They do not as yet usually receive official support except in the 
case of some art collections, though the experiment with a municipal 
theater at Northampton, Massachusetts, the successful municipal or- 
chestra at Baltimore, the municipal organ and organist at Portland, 
Maine, and the movement to develop a municipal art center in New 
York are typical indications in one section of the country alone, of 
increasing popular interest that has a wholly legitimate basis. There 
is no reason why such tendencies should cease until the impulses to make 
widely available the fine emotional experiences that the arts seek to 
evoke shall have found expression. 

It is unnecessary to elaborate this type of knowledge. It is constantly 
assuming new and surprising forms, of which radio broadcasting is the 

1 See page 70 


most recent and perhaps the most revolutionary. Its cultivation, in 
adjustment to varying community tendencies, will be an endless pro- 
cess of planning and fulfilment. It need only be urged here that as these 
various aspects of cultural diffusion take shape, they should be allowed 
to come together in a combination that will provide for their close 
natural interdependence. 

The points of contact are innumerable. Print collections and music 
libraries have the same technical requirements that collections of books 
present. Books themselves are the indispensable tools and repositories 
of all the arts, not only in the narrow specialty concerned, but also in 
the broader relations of these specialties to many other arts and fields 
of knowledge. Facilities for lectures and visual representation are aids 
as useful in one as in another of the various activities contemplated. 
It is easy and neat to set up each little interest independently with its 
own management and series of supporting relationships a museum 
here, a library there, an auditorium, a municipal picture theater, or an 
art gallery at other points competing for attention. It is perhaps more 
difficult at the outset, but it is certainly far more significant and im- 
pressive to conceive and express all of these as interrelated parts of a 
genuine community institute of all the arts and sciences. By this means 
the several departments support and dignify one another. By main- 
taining their integral character these agencies of individual and com- 
munity betterment represent a single fine conception commanding a 
larger place in the thought and enthusiasm of each patron than would 
otherwise be possible. There would be few indeed that could not be 
attracted by some service provided in such a combination. And hav- 
ing obtained satisfaction at one point, it is an easy step to a sense of 
proprietorship in the whole. 





"1 ">OR American readers the obvious rejoinder to the foregoing 
rH pages would be to point to that deservedly notable and now 
JL generally characteristic feature of most American cities the 
tax-supported public library, and to many this reply would seem con- 

It is true, as has been pointed out, that a public tax-supported book 
collection is an indispensable basis for a community intelligence service, 
and therein most American communities enjoy a remarkable initial 
advantage over other countries. But in few American communities has 
there as yet been realized more than the bare outline of the potential 
content of this conception, and in the great majority of cases the ex- 
isting library service is so far from such a notion as to constitute a 
totally different phenomenon. 

The conception is, of course, old; it has inspired a few librarians for 
many years, and has been responsible for some recent developments that 
are very striking. Since the war the pressure of need behind this idea 
has redoubled. Progressive librarians everywhere realize that provision 
must be made for digesting and reducing to usable form the great masses 
of important information now accumulating with unexampled rapidity, 
and that means must be found whereby trustworthy knowledge of wider 
range than heretofore may be made available, especially for adult minds, 
with relative promptness and good judgment if our actual resources are 
to prove effective. Could this be accomplished for what is already clearly 
known in the field of hygiene and preventive medicine alone, the results 
certainly would be surprising. 


That the public library will be the instrument for these operations 
can scarcely be doubted by those who have followed the remarkable 
success of such elementary efforts as have already been made. Public 
response has been immediate. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the 
situation that the wiser and more far-sighted library service becomes, 
the more generously and permanently it is recognized and supported. 


Men realize the source of a timely and helpful idea as unerringly and 
as gratefully as they remember the source of palatable food, and they 
will support agencies that guide them to such ideas. However disagree- 
able the conclusion may be, libraries that lack support may as well con- 
front the fact that they are not furnishing the kind of service required 
by the individuals whom they ought to reach. For the sort of service 
that is here in view there is no measure of success more relentlessly just 
in the long run than popular opinion and the resulting appropriation. 
It is gratifying, therefore, to find that the most promising movement 
among librarians at the present time is for a close study of the means 
for securing an intelligent diffusion of service. They call it "publicity" 
a term which may be necessary, but which is not quite fair to their 
idea. A notice to a resident that a valuable registered package awaits 
him at the post-office would not be termed "publicity," yet the service 
of the library is more nearly of that nature. It aims to call attention 
to hitherto unappreciated values in the manner of simple service char- 
acteristic of a telephone directory or of postal deliveries. The value of 
the ideas contained in books is as real and universal as food and cloth- 
ing except for those who cannot read. Tax-payers have aright to know 
just what these values are and how they may be procured. It is the task 
of the library staff to discover the maximum value of its stock for each 
individual and to give notice. This is a highly refined information ser- 
vice; "publicity" may well be left to the natural communicativeness 
of those who find themselves well served. 

The results of study and experiment on the part of energetic 
rians in the direction of a diirused service are convincing. On occasion 
they are little short of spectacular, and it is mainly their success that 
justifies such expectations as have been suggested in the foregoing 
pages. A brief review of what has recently been done and of what is 
now going on in libraries in creating better service will make this dear. 

A. General Library Service 

The chief business of a community library is to produce a general 
diffusion of knowledge among small, ill-defined, and constantly shift- 
ing groups, where each need is peculiar to the individual himself^ and 
must be dealt with separately. Such a function involves a multitude of 


minute adjustments, each of which is essential in certain cases, but no 
one of which is exceptional, and all of which together make up the 
main amount for which the library stands as a whole. Recent progress 
in this direction may perhaps be shown best by a concrete example 
that represents notably suggestive practice. 

General Library Service at Ckveland 

The city library of Cleveland, Ohio, serves a population of 880,000 
people. In its collection of over 800,000 books, circulation and refer- 
ence volumes are placed together, and the shelves are open to the pub- 
lic. The reader has before him, therefore, the complete resources of the 
library on any one topic. He also has immediate access to an experi- 
enced librarian in charge of that particular division a narrowly re- 
stricted field of knowledge. This person has the natural ability, educa- 
tion,and special training in that field of a well-chosen college instructor. 
He has several assistants working under his direction. He is not se- 
cluded, but is at the reader's disposal. He is a research specialist in dis- 
covering what it is in his field that one needs. Naturally, he cannot give 
prolonged instruction, but his experience and his thorough knowledge 
of the subject make a few minutes' conference with him from time to 
time worth hours of search by one's self. The difference between this 
person and the usual reference librarian is enormous. The latter is fa- 
miliar with the technical aids in the use of books in general, but other- 
wise is likely to be uninformed; the specialist has all this and, being in 
addition a trained student in the field concerned, he knows and has read 
the books, understands their relative merit, appreciates the extent and 
nature of the applicant's requirement, and can take him directly to the 
suitable material if it is available. 

In this group of division heads is the beginning of a true community 
"faculty," whose worth to the city of Cleveland will become more 
apparent as their number increases and their function becomes better 
known. Any Clevelander may " matriculate " for life with this array of 
teacher-librarians, whose chief business it is to study the needs of the 
city of Cleveland with relation to the printed matter in their charge. 
They answer or provide for the answering of specific enquiries referred 
to them from without; they consult directly with applicants as to books 
or information; they plan or explain reading-lists for special purposes; 
they devise systematic reading courses for individuals, groups, or organ- 
izations; they visit societies and clubs either to explain the operations 


of the library or to discuss books and their use; they give formal lec- 
tures in the library or its branches ; they prepare or suggest to the ed- 
itor new material for publications setting forth the contents or use of 
books; and finally they are constantly observing the city and its pop- 
ulation to discover new ways of getting the important books read by 
persons who need them. 

One division assistant at Cleveland, who is in charge of specific adult 
education in a narrower sense, seeks to adapt the library facilities to 
classes of immigrant foreigners, and of illiterate or partly educated 
natives. The teachers either volunteer or are provided by the Board of 
Education or other institutions, and the library furnishes a book col- 
lection for each. During the past year 41 sets of books were sent to 
such classes in public schools, to Y. W. C. A. and settlement classes, 
and to other adult study groups. Members of the staff talk to each of 
these classes, as well as to each of the evening classes in the city, often 
bringing them to the library in a body and taking out cards for each 
student. Descriptive lists of books likely to be of interest to such read- 
ers are printed and given them. The same procedure is followed with 
naturalization classes. 

Library clubs among the younger and older boys and girls are so 
numerous at Cleveland (70 in 19&3-&4), that a special library super- 
visor gives her full time to them. They meet weekly with a volunteer 
leader, and follow a great variety of projects, but the library contri- 
bution is always uppermost and indispensable. In 1921 some forty of 
the younger clubs combined under library direction to give an his- 
torical pageant of the city. 

The editorial division issues the material for use in all aspects of the 
library's work nearly one hundred publications in all during the year. 
That which goes to the public consists mainly of reading-lists for a great 
diversity of special purposes or special groups of people, directions for 
special uses of the library, information as to its service, and finally a 
monthly list of new books with expert annotations preceded by inter- 
esting editorials. This is extensively distributed throughout the city. 
A monthly house organ contributes news, entertainment, and profes- 
sional matter to a staff the morale of which is the obvious secret of the 
institution's unusual service. 

Besides the main collection, a municipal reference section in the 
City Hall, a separate library for the blind, and another for teachers, 
the service of the library in Cleveland reaches its citizen supporters 


through 943 different agencies. There are fifty-two branch libraries- 
more than in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx, 
and Staten Island (44) with their combined population of more than 
three million. Seventeen of these branches are housed in commodious 
buildings of their own, frequently possessing auditoriums and club- 
rooms, and enjoying all the conveniences and skilled service of inde- 
pendent institutions. 

Thirty branch libraries are in public school buildings. Twelve of 
these serve both the school and the neighborhood, while the remainder 
are intended for pupils and teachers only, but actually reach many 
members of their families besides. In schools that lack easy access to 
branch libraries, there are 789 class-room libraries from which books 
may be circulated for home use out of a constantly changing stock. 

In addition to these centers, the main library effects fruitful con- 
tacts under varied conditions m about 106 deposit and delivery sta- 
tions. Thus in some forty factories, department stores, and telephone 
exchanges small collections of from #00 volumes up are kept in charge 
either of a trained librarian or of some responsible volunteer, and are 
changed as needed. In a long list of social- welfare agencies, educational 
and religious organizations, hospitals and nurse centers, police and fire 
stations, camps, and public institutions, only a few volumes are kept, 
but orders are filled as required. Canceled books are sent to the jails 
and city workhouse, and the library's Stations Department sees to it 
that they are used. 

Special attention should be called to the existing school relations in 
this city as one of the most conspicuous features of its library's suc- 
cess. It is as deplorable as it is unnecessary that in general throughout 
the country the public library and the schools speak a different tongue 
and rarely understand each other. Furthermore, this lack of adjustment 
appears to be due quite as often to the narrow vision and perfunctory 
procedure within the school as it is to limited resources and unskilled 
service at the library. 

At Cleveland the school and the library labor hand in hand for the 
pupiL Indeed, the library is in a sense the modeling board on which 
the teacher's work is performed. It is the conscious aim of the system 
that no child shall lack convenient access either to a branch library in, 
or adjacent to, the school, or else to a class-room library; and both 
types of service are organized and managed by the main library per- 
sonnel directly for his benefit. An especially trained and expert libra- 


rian, selected and in part paid by the library, looks after Mm, gives 
him regular instruction in the care and use of books, and sees to it that 
his experience is happy. Reference of pupils to the library on the part 
of teachers is incessant; both teachers and pupils consult with the li- 
brarians as to book selection and reservations for particular purposes, 
and use the collection as an integral and indispensable part of the 
school equipment which it actually is. During the school day, pupils 
visit the libraries regularly, and after dismissal the reading-rooms are 
crowded until evening. The registered school borrowers under fifteen 
years of age took home last year an average of nineteen books each. The 
same situation obtains throughout all the schools, including the high 
schools and the teachers' training school. What this habitual famil- 
iarity with the library means after a student has graduated may easily 
be imagined: he has been bred to it and by it, and the institution re- 
mains an intimately serviceable factor in his life after he leaves school. 

Through this series of distributing centers, the people of Cleveland 
took for home use last year 5,06,65 books, or nearly six books for 
every man, woman, and child in the entire city a city in which the 
population of foreign birth or parentage is relatively even larger than 
in New York. In short, there appears to be here the basis of well-nigh 
perfect mechanics in book distribution; wherever a need appears, a card 
or telephone call brings a generous assortment of well-chosen volumes 
and an invitation to send for more. 

No complete record of visiting readers can be kept, but a partial 
count gave 3,456,913 in the main centers. The average week-day at- 
tendance is over ten thousand readers. The number of enquiries received 
by telephone, through the mails, or verbally could not even be approxi- 
mated. Several million questions were answered on thousands of sub- 
jects, many of them of the greatest importance to the enquirers. 

With such a relatively well-developed service as this, it would be of 
interest to know to what extent the city may have been "saturated" 
and the possibilities of library use exhausted. Is there a point of dimin- 
ishing returns? If so, where is it, to what form of service does it apply, 
and is it inherent or simply temporary? These questions are difficult 
to answer, inasmuch as values cannot always be measured in figures, 
but the responsible heads of the Cleveland staff would scout the possi- 
bility of "saturation." The service in I9&2 increased by about per 
cent over the year before, owing in part to extensive unemployment, and 
in part to the advertising that resulted from a bond issue campaign, 


yet it is their judgment that the real development of library patronage 
throughout the community has scarcely begun. Their means for extend- 
ing service have been carefiilly selected and most skilfully worked. There 
are many forms of information which they dare not use or press too vig- 
orously lest the demands at oncte outrun the available facilities. 1 

The crucial question in all of these phenomena for the future of 
library service is necessarily financial. Does public service of distinctive 
quality and well-nigh universal application result in public support? 

In Cleveland there can be no question about the popular aspect of 
the library's reputation. At the November election of 1921 an "off" 
year in a period of great economic depression an additional bond 
issue of $2,000,000 for a new library building was passed with a ma- 
jority of more than 20,000. Of the eight ballots voted, the library bond 
issue ran next to the highest, which was for mayor, and showed 140,000 
votes cast. The only other bond issue $2,000,000 for a court-house 
and jail was overwhelmingly rejected. This vote is significant, inas- 
much as the first $2,000,000 for the library voted in 1912 called out 
only 34,000 votes and received a majority of but 1400. 

For current maintenance the Cleveland Library received from taxes 
in 1922, $1.35 per capita on the estimated population for that year, and 
expended in actual operation $1 .30 per capita. A comparison with public 
school expenditures for the same year, including sinking funds, shows 
that the city paid $17 per capita of population for its elementary and 
secondary schools, and for its library system, $1 .54 ! Yet only two-thirds 
of the latter amount constitutes the city's sole provision for the organ- 
ized information and education of its entire adult population. The city 
is, of course, to be congratulated on a library service that has induced a 
support which is to-day more than twice that of the average American 
city for the same purpose. Nevertheless, one cannot resist the predic- 
tion that the rapid refinement and extension of these same principles 
for making ideas in books universally fruitful will shortly find Cleve- 
landers paying many times this amount from motives of demonstrated 
economy. 2 The many admirable characteristics that have made Cleve- 

1 Since tiiis account was written, the Cleveland library service has been extended to all of 
Cuyahoga County. Branches throughout the county are in process of establishment, and soon 
the 60,000 people in suburbs and rural districts will enjoy the same privileges as those living in 
the city. 

* No small part of the success of the Cleveland Library has been due, aside from its exceptional 
leadership, to another fact which must not go unmentioned ; namely, its non-political control. 
Its board of trustees, otherwise wholly independent, is appointed tor long terms, on a non-polit- 
ical basis, by the Board of Education a device which has worked notably well in both Cleveland 
and Detroit 


land noteworthy as a city are certainly not without significant relations 
to the millions of volumes of good reading that are absorbed annually by 
her people. Intangible assets of this type bear a high rate of interest, 
and are the safest possible insurance for a finer city as they accumulate. 

With this sketch of a modern community intelligence service in the 
background, some of its special aspects and possibilities may be illus- 
trated by citations from successful procedure here and there through- 
out the country. 

B. Specialization, in Libraries 
(1) Business Library at Newark 

The effort to segregate and serve the needs of special classes in the 
community is well illustrated by the work of the business man's library 
in Newark, New Jersey, which has been the model of many elsewhere. 
Here has been brought together in a central location available printed 
matter that concerns the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, 
the salesman, and the banker, together with all those whose work at 
times touches these pursuits. A great variety of personal, telephone, 
and trade directories covering the entire country; trade, business, and 
financial periodicals with indexes; a large collection of maps, pamphlets, 
and clippings, besides a considerable library of books dealing with 
every aspect of business activity; stock and bond information ; financial 
reports; investment data; commercial and industrial information both 
domestic and foreign; statutes, session laws, and bills as introduced in 
the state legislature ; service from other business organizations by mail 
or telephone; all this, conveniently arranged within small compass, 
with expert reference service, typists, and transcription clerks, costs 
Newark about $20,000 a year. 

At this center is to be secured the answer to any reasonable enquiry 
that a person in a city noted for its extxaordinary variety of business 
interests may desire to make. An average of some 4$5 calls for informa- 
tion are handled each day. Many of these come over the telephone. It is 
needless to say that Newark business men support such a service with 
enthusiasm and defend the organization that has conceived and pro- 
vided it. In very large concerns private technical libraries may prove 
convenient, but such collections ultimately enhance rather than impair 
the usefulness of the general center for the great majority of users, and 
even for the large houses themselves. 


(2) Municipal Reference Library at Cleveland 

At Cleveland, Ohio, the city library's municipal reference branch pre- 
sents anotlier example of effective special service. Housed in the City 
Hall, it serves all departments of the city government with technical 
books, special information, statistics,reports of investigations, data from 
other cities, and current works of all kinds of importance to citizens. Ex- 
pert knowledge from allover the world withreference to paving, sewerage, 
lighting, water supply, garbage treatment, food inspection, city plan- 
ning, and so forth, is to be had here with the aid of skilful assistants. 
Discriminating service of this sort is very persuasive with City Fathers, 
and is likely in the long run to save much money for the tax-payer. 
Librarians who feel that their institution is not properly appreciated by 
the city government might well ask themselves just how indispensable 
they axe to the individuals that make up the current administration. 

(3) Teacher^ Library at Indianapolis 

The Indianapolis Library has organized a Teachers' Special Library 
and placed it in the school administration building in the heart of the 
city, accessible to all teachers. The collection is in charge of expert 
librarians, who also possess the teacher's training and point of view. The 
purpose is to collect, classify, file, and utilize all obtainable information 
in print for the direct use of teachers. Separate collections are brought 
together to avoid duplication, and provision is made for systematic dis- 
tribution of material throughout the city. 

The library contains reference books, pedagogical books, educational 
periodicals, current classified pamphlet material, government and state 
educational publications, courses of study in other cities, text-books 
both newand old on exhibition, class-room libraries, circulating material 
on the Indianapolis course of study, annual reports and other publica- 
tions from leading city school systems, visualizing material, slides, maps, 
stereopticons, stereoscopes, films, diagrams, standard tests and diag- 
nosis material on school subjects, compilations by local teachers, cata- 
logues, and exhibits of an educational character. The institution serves 
as a reference library and as a place for meetings of teachers and officers ; 
it is a bureau of all manner of information on matters dealing with 
education. By means of competent service the widely scattered mate- 
rials in each teacher's field are brought together to economize his time, 
and to lend freshness, enthusiasm, and originality to his work. Under 
modern conditions this is a marked advantage to instruction. 


(4) Departmental Specialization 

The special service for large and distinct groups of individuals, as 
above described, differs only in the matter of physical detachment from 
the specialization everywhere characteristic of progressive libraries. The 
segregation of the books themselves has been a natural and compara- 
tively inexpensive development, while the assembling of an adequate 
staff of trained scholars who know the books and can mediate between 
them and prospective users is just beginning. 

Industrial centers like Detroit and Pittsburgh have built up in their 
libraries technology departments of great strength. These cover the 
processes of preparing materials and of manufacture, the scientific and 
technical journals, patent literature, trade catalogues, the literature of 
scientific societies, physical and commercial resources of all parts of the 
earth, scientific biography, technical bibliography, and local industrial 
activities. The Pittsburgh department gives systematic instruction to 
engineering students and occasional instruction to others. It has a long 
list of patrons whose special activities are known and who receive from 
it prompt notice of reference books, magazine articles, and professional 
literature in which they are interested. The demands on the Detroit tech- 
nology department have increased apace with the phenomenal growth 
of the city during the past ten years, and have compelled the consider- 
ation of a special science building with more adequate resources. "We 
might double our library material of this special kind and it would still 
be inadequate," says the librarian. 

Music departments have existed in public libraries for many years, 
and six or eight cities have collections of the first rank. Oakland, Cali- 
fornia, has a library of church choir music built up and used by 125 
organizations. It is an obvious economy, that can hardly fail to con- 
tribute considerably to the improvement of musical taste. The El Paso 
Library furnishes orchestra scores for the city symphony orchestra as 
well as for those in the moving-picture theaters. The Cleveland Or- 
chestra has the library use its announcements to suggest books ap- 
propriate to the programs and to call attention to its available musi- 
cal scores. The Portland, Oregon, Library contributes the explanatory 
notes to the printed symphony programs. The Library of Pomona, 
California (population, 14,000), has a large collection of phonograph 
records for the use of schools and clubs, and gives regular concerts with 
these and with musicians in person. The Utica, New York, Library pro- 
vides illustrated explanatory talks previous to musical events of note, 


and -the St. Louis Library gives recitals for children on musical sub- 

Similarly, books on art are generally segregated, and books on eco- 
nomics, some phases of history, and genealogy are often set apart. Thus 
the ground is more or less prepared for a systematic departmental or- 
ganization of public book collections with a view to a fully differen- 
tiated service, even where neither exists at present. 

C. The Distribution of Books 

Next in importance to a favorable arrangement of the library the 
student of public library mechanics would probably place the provi- 
sions for distributing the books. In so far as this depends upon patrons 
coming to the library, its success is much affected by the arrangement 
of the collection and whether or not the books may be freely examined 
on the shelves. Open shelves on the departmental plan make access as 
simple and satisfactory as possible for the enquirer. 

But the psychology of librarianship has gone much beyond this. It 
has been discovered that the successful diffusion of ideas is directly de- 
pendent on the physical convenience with which they may be obtained. 
If Hie ideas in good books are to compete successfully with those uni- 
versally available in other print, they must be at least equally accessi- 
ble. Reading that requires thought is not the line of least human re- 
sistance, and its chances for forming habits decrease rapidly as the 
physical obstacles accumulate. The librarian's object, therefore, has been 
to place books where people work, or pass, or can conveniently congre- 
gate to enjoy their leisure in other words, to make the library ubiqui- 
tous, pervasive, and tempting with precisely the sort of book needed at 
any particular point. 

The extraordinary extent to which this idea has been carried out in 
Cleveland has already been set forth. Not only in convenient neighbor- 
hood branches and sub- stations but in stores, factories, and public in- 
stitutions of all sorts there appears theinevitable little library, thought- 
fully selected for its purpose, continually refreshed by exchanges from 
the main collection, and carefully administered nearly a thousand 
such radiators from the central plant in a city of less than one million 

The same course is followed in many other cities. The Seattle Li- 
brary places foreign language collections, together with "easy books 
in English," in the immigration detention quarters, where they hold 


out a welcome to the delayed and usually depressed stranger. Seattle 
also has a little station with about 900 volumes in the public market. 
Books are of all classes, and borrowers of all nationalities. "Stall own- 
ers are eager for books on gardening and fruit growing, while house- 
wives carry away the family supply of books in their market baskets 
with cabbages and potatoes." Sioux City, Iowa, has erected a remark- 
able library service in her ten hospitals. The Brooklyn Library oper- 
ates a collection in the City Prison. 

At Framingham, Massachusetts, a branch library, started for the 
Dennison Manufacturing Company, proved so successful that the Com- 
pany soon took it over, and now employs its own librarians, and buys 
its own books. A traveling bookcase goes the rounds of the various 
departments and shops at the noon hour, the employees making their 
own choices. A small town, also in Massachusetts, happens to have its 
library located near the terminus of certain electric suburban lines. In 
planning the new library the reading-room, has been cleverly combined 
with a waiting-room, so that the farmers and their wives can scarcely 
avoid the pressing invitations to take home a book. 

The experience just cited has been duplicated on a larger scale at 
Youngstown, Ohio. During the war a temporary structure for war pur- 
poses was erected on the public square in the heart of the city, where 
all car lines meet. A vacant corner of this building was appropriated 
by the library to such good purpose that when it was removed after 
the war the total book circulation dropped by 80,000 volumes, though 
the main building was but two blocks away up a hill. The loss has 
since been made good by the erection on the same spot of an attractive 
open-shelf room containing a few thousand books accessible day and 
night. To advertise the new scheme still further, if possible, the skilful 
librarian got all plans, material, labor, and furnishings donated directly 
by various interested citizens. The geographical pivot of Youngstown 
is now a free and busy book exchange. 

TheLibrary at Dayton, Ohio, operates a book wagon in the city. Stops 
are made at convenient sheltered spots and borrowers are registered and 
supplied. The wagon's first month's record showed more newregistrations 
than were received during the entire year at either of the two regular 
branches. For several years St. Louis has had a playground book wagon 
that makes it possible to keep up small temporary libraries for the children 
at the public playgrounds during the hours when these are in use. Wai- 
tham, Massachusetts, delivers books regularly to house-bound invalids. 


All of the developments just described serve to indicate the extent 
to which the public library is being transformed from a relatively re- 
mote and monumental institution to a tool of practical daily service 
by eliminating the inhibitions of distance, of red tape, and of social 
aloofness in order to bring the contents of books quickly and effec- 
tively to the hand of the person who needs them. The effective jibe that 
the public library is for people with legs, not heads, will lose its point 
when buildings now being planned become general. These will be com- 
pact, convenient structures of the type of the office building, designed 
literally for the " man in the street" to save his time, to suit the great 
diversity of his needs, and to make a book his first and final resort 

D. Differentiation of Personal Service 

The mechanical features of advantageous library planning and the 
widest possible distribution of books throughout the community are 
obviously of first importance for the purposes in view. A library well 
ordered in these respects alone could perform a worthy function. Even 
so, however, a certain amount of wise personal attention would be indis- 
pensable, and if the possibilities of the library as an educational insti- 
tution are to be realized, the main concern clearly lies not in mechani- 
cal arrangements but in a sufficient and well-equipped personnel. 

What the personal element in a modern library service signifies has 
been pointed out in describing the Cleveland organization; libraries 
elsewhere are carrying out many of the same ideas, though not always 
so comprehensively. With the main officers well chosen, the core of such 
a staff consists in the groups of selected experts in charge of various 
divisions of the books, and a few specialists who represent the library, 
as a whole, in its relations with various social groups without. The ac- 
tivities that these intelligence officers are carrying on in widely scattered 
communities are numerous and instructive. 

(1) General Adult Education 

With a general announcement encouraging people to "Read with a 
Purpose," the Chicago Library has established a Reader's Bureau that 
undertakes to plan personal reading curricula on any subject, and to 
guarantee that the books will be made available even if special pur- 
chases are necessary. This is a familiar idea made specific and practi- 
cal. The initial announcement brought such a rush of applicants that 
the notice had to be withdrawn until the bureau should catch up. A fair 


illustration of its performance is the case of a saleswoman in a china 
store who desired to make a study of the marks on crockery and glass 
ware in preparation for becoming a buyer. The bureau devoted from 
one to two days to making this exceptional list of material and eventu- 
ally brought it together for the applicant's use. Courses so prepared 
are filed and become available for later use. 

The "Reader's Assistant" in the Detroit Library is doing work 
somewhat similar to that in Chicago. This office reports that "the con- 
stant demand is for help in filling up deficiencies of education," 

The Newark, New Jersey, Library puts the idea of self-education into 
a folder of Wallingford pattern : "Get Wise Quick." It is addressed to 
young people, and part of it reads as follows: 

"When a boy or girl. leaves school and goes to work, how can he 
get wise? That is, how can he, having left all teachers, still keep on 
learning to be a good and useful citizen and to make his life each 
day more worth living? 

"There are many answers to this question there are friends 
who will help, and ambition and cleverness and steadiness and, 
once in a long while, genius, but the best of all answers is the li- 
brary. In the building which your town has put up and filled with 
books all with public money are people, hired with public 
money, whose job it is to furnish you with books and journals. 
These people like their job very much. You can help them to make 
then- job seem more worth while by asking them to help you 
get ready for a better job than you have now; to go up the edu- 
cational ladder by your own efforts by reading and study. The 
papers are full of advertisements of magic books and * Courses of 
study,' 'systems of training, 5 * salary raisers, 9 'memory strength- 
eners,' 'personality fertilizers,' * wisdom capsules,' and the like, 
which promise to make you wise, great, and rich in ten lessons at 
about $3.00 per. In your library are 240,000 books. In these books 
lie the sum and substance of all the wisdom-getting, memory- 
improving, and salary-raising ideas that anybody has had since 
the world began." 

With this folder and its excellent advice, only a part of which has 
been quoted here, goes a post-card already addressed to the library, on 
which the reader, if he is unable to go to the library himself, may check 
the topics he wants to "post up on" " the more dearly and freely you 
tell what you 'd like to study, the better help the library can give you." 
He states whether he desires elementary or advanced work, signs his 
name with his address, and returns it to the library. 


The library at Grand Rapids, Michigan, goes after every boy or girl 
leaving school permanently with a similar folder. These individuals are 
doubtless the most difficult class of the population to reach. They have 
just been relieved from formal study, are still immature, and have little 
experience in self-direction. The Cleveland Library organizes such 
young people into clubs, thus adding a social motive to the book inter- 
est. This is the easier to do at Cleveland because as pupils they have 
acquired an intimacy with the library and its offerings in the course of 
their school routine. Both Grand Rapids and Cleveland cooperate with 
the evening and continuation schools in following up young readers. 
Chicago provides a special reading-room with a picked staff for this class 
of readers, and in a small hall adjoining gives illustrated lectures, talks, 
and readings. The Dayton Library in planning its new building pro- 
poses "that the library act as an educational clearing house for the iso- 
lated or individual students to whom such guidance would be stimulat- 
ing and helpful, and seek to do it upon an organized and systematic 
basis as a public library function in disseminating free information." 

The Milwaukee Library has sought first to meet the needs of groups 
already at work. After a careful analysis of the efforts in adult education 
going on in that city, it found that there were some sixteen agencies 
conducting classes and reaching approximately 30,000 persons. These 
agencies were classified as follows: 1. Americanization classes. 2. Edu- 
cational classes of the trade unions. 3. Educational departments of 
stores and factories. 4. Educational clubs and organizations of the 
churches, and 5. Advanced students in university extensions and high 
school evening classes. With the first two of these groups the library 
management has entered into active relations, by bringing the classes 
to visit the main building, by explaining its use in numerous class 
talks, by preparing for them special collections suited to their needs, 
and by organizing library committees in each group or union to pro- 
mote the use of library books. 

A peculiarly modern type of general adult education may develop 
from radio broadcasting by libraries. The Pittsburgh Library sends out 
weekly in this manner a letter on library topics that at present would 
probably rank as "publicity" rather than as education. 

In cities where an active library has encountered the problem of non- 
English-speaking immigrants, or of English-speaking foreigners not 


familiar with American institutions, a quiet but unremitting campaign 
of education has been in progress for many years, although the achieve- 
ments of the library in providing the reagents for the ensuing trans- 
formation are probably wholly unappreciated by the public. Because 
of the extraordinary importance of this service to the health of Ameri- 
can social and civic life, a somewhat detailed account drawn from a 
local report of the current practice in a typical center for such work 
is given here: 

"The library in Seattle serves a community of approximately 
350,000, one-third of which is foreign-born or of foreign parent- 
age. The nationalities predominating are Scandinavian, German, 
Finnish, Russian, and Italian. Other nationalities represented 
are Polish, French, Croatian, Lithuanian, Bohemian, Greek, and 
Turkish. Then there is a large contingent of Jews Russian 
Jews, Polish Jews, Spanish Jews, and German Jews and an Ori- 
ental element which combined is as great as one of the major 
groups first mentioned. 

"The library may be said to begin its Americanization work in 
the detention quarters of the United States Immigration Service. 
In recent years Russians have been arriving in ever increasing 
numbers, via China, They are for the most paxt ex-nobles, people 
of the bourgeois class, professional men and women, artists, mu- 
sicians, and artisans. Invariably some are detained because the 
monthly quota is filled. Crowded into close quarters with nothing 
to do but wait, there is every opportunity for homesickness and 
depression to weaken their morale. The library by installing a 
collection of books here consisting of Russian and English texts 
the latter composed of easy illustrated manuals, elementary 
civics with polyglot vocabularies, and simple stories provides an 
opportunity for the ambitious to lose no time in learning about 
the new country, practising their English, or in hours of discour- 
agement in finding a means of forgetting their impending diffi- 
culties in the perusal of a book in their ownIanguage,The effective- 
ness of this pre-entry acquaintance with the library is evidenced 
by the fact that it is tihe first institution visited by the Russians 
after their final admission. A leaflet of information about -the 
library posted in the detention quarters gives full information in 
Russian as to how to obtain a library card, the privileges which 
may be enjoyed without a card, and the location of the library 
and all its branches. 

"Those Russians who have been fortunate enough to enter the 
country without detention first hear of the library at the Russian 
church or through the Russian club, where posters of information 
about the library's 'easy 5 books, and professional and trade man- 


uals, quickly lure them library-wards. At present the Russians con- 
stitute the most appealing of the city's foreign population, the 
majority obviously belonging to those classes destined by the pres- 
ent Russian government to expiate the sins of the old regime. They 
are destitute of all but courage, fine breeding, and a sustaining 
spirit of adventure, which enables Dmitry Brisgoloff who naively 
writes * Baron* before his name to write his occupation, without 
self-consciousness, in a fine, cultivated hand, 'Cleaner of offices, 5 
and a poetic-looking youth whose hands have heretofore wielded 
only brush and palette, to ask with eager curiosity before filling in 
'occupation' on his application blank, how to spell ' dishwasher.' 
Engineers, ex-Royal Opera singers, lawyers, and architects kneel 
humbly before the shelves of 'Easy books for foreigners,' in des- 
perate search of the one text which will most rapidly initiate them 
into the mysteries of the new language, or they lose all sense of 
time, place, and the immediate difficulties of life, as they pore over 
some old favorite from the Russian shelves. Seattle, in spite of its 
large population, is still a rather crude western city, affording little 
scope for the employment of the intellectual and cultural talents 
of these ex-patriates, so that sooner or later they are swallowed up 
in the factories and bound down by menial occupations. Only in 
the library do they find escape from cruel actuality, and whenever 
they can snatch a bit of leisure there one finds them studying 
diligently either an English grammar or a vocational text. 

"The Scandinavian element of this flourishing town presents no 
problem. One finds Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes in every night- 
school class. Sturdy, industrious, and ambitious, they constitute 
one of the most reliable of the foreign elements of the city, making 
use of every school and library facility in qualifying for a place 
in the ranks of the progressive farmers, skilled mechanics, or com- 
petent merchants. They adapt themselves more quickly, perhaps, 
than any other nationality to American conditions, though they 
rarely voice their approval of them with the same flattering enthu- 
siasm as the Italians and Greeks, who, on the other hand, are slower 
to adjust themselves. None are so active as the Scandinavians in 
bringing recruits to the library, in advertising its resources, in fol- 
lowing its suggestions with regard to naturalization preparation. 

" The Italians and Greeks, again unlike the Scandinavians, must 
be enticed to the library. They rarely come of their own accord, 
but always respond with that graciousness which is characteristic 
of southern peoples, to the invitation extended them through the 
night schools or their own societies. Once apprised of the Italian 
collection, the free afternoon classes for foreign women held in 
some of the branch libraries, and the c easy books* which they may 
borrow gratis, they become regular visitors. 

" The Germanand French population of Seattle is hardly distin- 


guishable from the native population. They constitute important 
cultural elements of the city, are for the most part naturalized or 
in the process of naturalization, and, on the arrival of immigrant 
fellow-countrymen, take it upon themselves to introduce them to 
the library's Americanization resources. 

"The other nationalities composing the major and minor groups 
to be found in Seattle are usually first reached through the night 
schools. Once during every term the librarian in charge of 'Ameri- 
canization work' visits the evening classes for foreigners held in 
the public schools. When this custom was first begun, not a few 
teachers protested that it would be a waste of time for the libra- 
rian to speak to the pupils because the latter had only a meagre 
vocabulary of monosyllabic words acquired from primers and first 
readers, and could not possibly understand anything in the nature 
of a speech made to them. Time has proved their error, for in all 
the years these visits have been made, not one class has failed to re- 
spond in the person of at least half of its members. A new face, a 
new voice, and a message addressed to them as individuals rather 
than pupils, is bound to stimulate an interest in adult pupils ever 
on the alert to make practical application of any new knowledge. 
Invariably, the librarian, entering the close, chalk-laden air of the 
schoolroom, has seen the tired faces of the Beppos and Johanns, 
the Ivans, Ingas, and Sophies, light up at the prospect of a di- 
version; their bodies, drooping in their cramped seats with wea- 
riness from the day's toil, straighten up, the whole atmosphere 
become electrified with attention, as the library's importance to 
them is set forth in carefully chosen, simple words, and an invi- 
tation extended to visit it. There have always been venturesome 
spirits present in every class who have seized the opportunity to 
talk, and the shyer ones have been encouraged to do so by the li- 
brarian's addressing them they are always recognizable per- 
sonally. In the course of the next few days after such a night- 
school visit, there is a steady stream of night-school pupils, ask- 
ing for the visiting librarian by name, with the touching faith 
that they are remembered. Since an extended hand, accompany- 
ing a broad or a shy smile, always indicates a night-school pupil, 
they are never disappointed by not being recognized. This return 
visit provides the librarian with an excellent opportunity for a 
personal talk. The visitor is drawn out into telling something 
about himself or herself, books are discussed, particularly favorite 
writers in the other's language, with a view to finding out whether 
the library may not have them in English; specific titles of easy 
books are recommended; the 6 Americanization Collection,' con- 
sisting of civics manuals, histories of the new country in easy 
English, and biographies of the foreign-born whom America now 
proudly claims as her own, is introduced. The visitor is assisted in 


registering, and, departing with one or more carefully selected 
books, is also provided with a leaflet of information about the 
library with the recommendation to pass it on to some less Ameri- 
canized countryman. The library has these leaflets in thirteen 
different languages, and it rarely occurs that a foreigner comes to 
the library who cannot be furnished with one in his own language, 
should he be unable to understand English. 

"The next most successful contact with the alien dwelling in 
Seattle comes through the Naturalization Office, where the exam- 
iner, on the conclusion of his interrogation, gives the applicant for 
citizenship a card of introduction to the library. The applicant 
leaxns from this that he may borrow books freely from the public li- 
brary, which will aid him in preparing for his naturalization exam- 
ination. On presenting the card at the library he is at once intro- 
duced to the textbooks for aliens and similar texts, which give him 
often his first real understanding of the seriousness of the step be- 
fore him. The librarian's personal interest in finding him the most 
desirable book and the friendly character of the service extended 
him, often act as a salve to his self-esteem which has been wounded 
by the quick, sharp, official queries put to him in the busy office of 
the naturalization examiner. 

66 All the foreign organizations in Seattle aid the library in its 
Americanization work. There are some 20 organizations, not count- 
ing churches, which keep their members apprised of all such mat- 
ters desirable and advantageous for prospective citizens to know. 
Such information is obtained from the library and posted in their 
dub quarters, together with library lists and current community 
activities and appeals. The library had striking evidence of their 
community spirit when the American Library Association made 
its drive for an enlarged program, some years ago. Among the 
foreign organizations sending contributions to the Seattle Library 
was a small Croatian society whose members are mostly fishermen. 
One of their leaders brought in seventeen dollars, voluntarily con- 
tributed by individual members, who were in the habit of using the 

"The foreign press likewise gives freely of its space to library 
news. There are published in Seattle eight foreign newspapers, the 
most important of which are the Scandinavian, the Italian, the 
German, the Yiddish, and the Greek. They barely make their pub- 
lishers a living, for as soon as a foreigner learns to read English 
he prefers an English newspaper, but for the newly-arrived immi- 
grant, the newspaper in his mother-tongue is a godsend. In it he 
gets his first information about what is expected of him in the 
new country, his duties and privileges. He may miss the sign pains- 
takingly displayed in shop windows and nailed to telegraph poles, 
informing tne reader of the evening classes in the public schools, 


for foreigners. Since it is printed in a language he has not yet 
learned to read, he passes it unwittingly by. When he reads it in 
his own language in the foreign press, however, he hastens, as a 
rule, to take advantage of it There, too,he reads of the free classes 
heldin certain branch libraries for foreign women, and of the books 
of interest and importance to new citizens, which he may obtain 
gratis at the public library. 

"In -the Foreign Division of the Seattle Library there stands on 
the librarian's desk a bulletin board labeled * World contacts' for 
which all the library's foreign clients are invited to bring clip- 
pings. Any honor or distinction bestowed on a former country- 
man of a New American by the country of his adoption, pleases 
the adopted citizen, who feels that he is made thereby more accept- 
able to his new country; and, vice versa, no native American feels 
greater pride than the New American when honor is extended to 
America by a foreign land. This bulletin board often proves the 
starting-point of active library Americanization work, for it fre- 
quently happens that a foreigner presenting an item to post, 
enters into a conversation with the librarian which reveals on 
the part of the former so keen an understanding and appreciation 
of the library's aims with respect to the foreign element that an 
invitation is extended him to represent the library among his 
fellow-countrymen, with a view to acquainting those who are not 
already familiar with the library's program, with the service it 
stands ready to extend prospective Americans. 

"Of special interest and value to the educated immigrant are 
the lists compiled by the Seattle Library of the books to be found 
in the library translated from foreign languages into English and 
from English into foreign languages. It takes infinite pains and 
patience to read a book in this duplicate order, yet many with 
only a meagre stock of English prefer this laborious method, 
which may yield an occasional literary pleasure, to conning the 
*easy j books, whose subject matter too often fails to appeal to the 
adult mind, 

"The foreign collections are, of course, the main drawing-card in 
attracting foreign-born readers to the Seattle Library. The* Amer- 
icanization Collection/ however, consisting of easy readers, easy 
civics, elementary United States histories, simple biographies and 
autobiographies of the foreign-born who have won distinction in 
this country, imperceptibly weans them from their native litera- 
tures, whose readers are replenished by newcomers. It is in a word, 
the ' Americanization Collection 5 which serves the foreign reader 
as a kind of spring-board into the other divisions and depart- 
ments of the 


(3) Lectures 

The extensive activities of the Cleveland Library staff in giving 
lectures and book talks have already been noted. Among these a regular 
feature is a series of 45-minute discussions of recent books, given at 
the central library and often repeated before classes and clubs. The 
Los Angeles Public Library is one of many others that does the same 
thing. In a recent year the head of its general literature department 
gave a hundred talks and book reviews before clubs and schools. 

The Grand Rapids Library is a conspicuous illustration of those 
institutions that conduct considerable courses of lectures with out- 
side speakers. The last series included a popular group of lectures on 
"American History since the Civil War." Over 5000 listened to the 
series, not counting some SO well-attended lectures at the branches. 

The New Bedford, Massachusetts, Library has for a long period fol- 
lowed the plan of holding regular Monday afternoon talks on literary 
topics by local men and women. Printed announcements of these topics 
list in each case the books that the library has to offer on the subject. 
At Regina, Canada, the library has combined this plan with a literary 
forurn for general discussion, the effect of which has been very bene- 
ficial to the library's circulation and prestige. One of the by-products 
has been the formation of a company of Community Players to study 
and produce good plays. 

(4) Clubs 

The promotion of library clubs for young people requires the con- 
stant assistance and supervision of a library officer. Adult clubs, on 
the contrary, while they make frequent use of some form of library 
service are chiefly attracted by the auditorium and club-rooms that 
many libraries afford. The use of the library in this manner reacts favor- 
ably on the circulation of books and on reading-room attendance, and 
is to be justified also because of the fine standing that it gives the in- 
stitution in general public opinion. 

The St. Louis Library is an excellent example. Its policy is clear and 
concise: "The library stands for no propaganda but seeks to house all 
opinions; it makes no obvious attempt to reform or 'uplift.'" The pur- 
pose and character of the meeting are agreed upon by the club's offi- 
cers and the librarians, and thereafter a wide freedom is permitted. On 
these terms the library is host to school clubs, groups of foreigners of 
many nationalities, women's clubs of all kinds, mothers' clubs, parlia- 


mentary classes, socialists, religious meetings, dance clubs and classes, 
political clubs and meetings, and musical organizations. 

Clubs with a definite library motive exist in Syracuse, in certain 
Kansas towns, and perhaps elsewhere under the name of "Friends of 
Reading." There is a loose organization or none at all, the notion being 
to emphasize the single idea: Read good books. Occasional meetings 
with invited speakers and discussion, service for the local library, and 
similar activities indicate the possible usefulness of such a supporting 
organization for libraries, much as the parents' associations now seek 
to understand and to aid their schools. 

(5) Schools 

As a few cities have discovered, the rational relation between schools 
and library is one of complete interdependence and cooperation. Fairly 
considered, the library and its organization represent the community 
educational establishment in all of its branches; the elementary and 
secondary schools are its apprentice shops, and the youth who passes 
from school without acquiring the skill and habit of using his library 
for both pleasure and knowledge has been wofully mistaught. 

This fact made such an appeal to the Omaha Technical High School, 
that it has completely revised the customary high school organization 
to remedy the situation. Eighty-five per cent of its 3000 or more pupils 
go directly into industrial life. Its new arrangement is intended to guar- 
antee that its graduates shall first of all know how to use books. The 
essential innovation is the provision and equipment in a new building 
of spacious reading and study rooms served by an open-shelf library of 
12,000 volumes with five trained librarians and ample student assist- 
ants on call daily, including Saturday. Class work is organized with the 
library as a nucleus, and pupils are not only fully instructed in its use, 
but also given a regular and frequent period for browsing or for sup- 
plementary reading. 

An example of good school library organization on a small scale is 
Pine Island, Minnesota, a village of less than 1000 inhabitants. Here 
the public library and the school library have combined, sharing the 
costs of administration and new acquisitions, and making it possible 
to use the joint institution as a school library throughout. With 3600 
volumes, the total circulation has been 17,600, or five withdrawals per 
volume per year a turnover that is exceptional 

When circumstances are made favorable, that is, when books are con- 


venient, attractive, and well sponsored, children apparently are glad to 
read. The York, Pennsylvania, Library, in March, 1923, sent out 34 small 
collections of standard classics for circulation in the 96 city schools, 
grades four to eight. From March 12 to May 22 these 441 books had 
been drawn by an average of thirteen children to each book, a total 
circulation of 5799. 

The Youngstown, Ohio, Library has made the same discovery in 
operating its scheme of reading for school credit. The School Board 
owns the books, but the Public Library relieves the teachers of all de- 
tail in their handling. Each pupil who enrolls for reading reads at 
least one book a month but not more than one a week. Each book is 
briefly reported on, both orally and in writing, to the teacher, who has 
been provided by the library with a short but comprehensive synopsis 
of it. A certificate is given by the library at the end of the year for 
reading ten or more books. Under this arrangement more than half of 
the children of Youngstown in grades three to eight are earning cer- 
tificates. Wherever the teacher seeks to interest the children in the 
books, and discusses them with sympathy, the scheme has had remark- 
able results. 

A regular feature of the Indianapolis Library is a vacation reading 
contest. Graded and annotated lists are distributed. From these in the 
summer of 1923 nearly 10,000 volumes were chosen, read, and briefly 
reported on. Ten acceptable reports earn a diploma and a membership 
in the library reading club. The Indianapolis Library finds, by the way, 
that parents who will not come to the library can be reached by putting 
a few adult books into the small school collections. 

A free county library organized for school purposes is a revelation to 
those not familiar with the practice in California. The Kern County 
Library began its work with schools in 1916. There are about one hun- 
dred schools in this county, which is just north of Los Angeles and is 
about the size of the State of Massachusetts (8000 sq. m.). The schools 
vary from large city schools to one-room buildings far off in the moun- 
tains or desert Each has a minimum fund of $25 per teacher with which 
it may contract with the county library for service. To each school, re- 
gardless of size, the library sends all the supplementary books on all 
subjects in the course of study for the use of each pupil, and desk books 
for the teacher; the actual text-books are provided by the state. Books 
in arithmetic, agriculture and nature study, music, art, fire prevention, 
morals and manners* hygiene, physical education, manual training and 


home economics, are all furnished in the quantities demanded. Diction- 
aries are supplied, the unabridged for the schoolroom, and smaller edi- 
tions for the desks of the pupils. Special collections are provided for each 
of the school supervisors, and books are sent out for thehome instruction 
of children too remote from any school to attend one. As many as 16,586 
books were sent to the schools alone, in the three weeks of September 
after school opened. 

Besides the books, periodicals for teacher and pupil are subscribed 
for and sent directly to the school. Sets of maps and globes are pro- 
vided, together with charts, word cards, phonetic element cards, and 
such other devices as may be desired. Stereograph collections in various 
sizes, with special groups for various countries and industries, and music 
records in large numbers are issued. In one county last year every school 
had two "music appreciation contests," in which twenty of the best 
records obtainable were used. 

Such long range service is kept in true vigor only by the constant 
activity of the library personnel. The children's librarian, in this case, 
visits each school, talks with teacher and pupils, discusses stories and 
books with them, and makes selections accordingly. Next to the employ- 
ment of a good teacher, it is probable that nothing could contribute 
more to equalize school opportunities than a library service of this 

(6) Hospitals 

Library service in hospitals has until recently taken the helpful, but 
merely imitative form of a collection for the use of the nurses. During 
the war, however, the value of suitable reading as a therapeutic agent 
was revealed with such force as to revolutionize ideas on the subject, 
and many libraries have since sought to develop an organized book 
service for patients in community institutions. The Sioux City, Iowa, 
Library has been one of the pioneers in originating hospital book 
wagons for use in the wards, in preparing bibliographies for guidance 
in varying kinds and stages of convalescence, and in training librarians 
qualified to handle the peculiar and difficult problems encountered 
in finding the best book for a given case. With due precautions as to 
contagious diseases and the fumigation of all books, almost 20,000 
volumes were distributed to the bedsides of patients in the ten Sioux 
City hospitals last year, and more than 21,000 visits were made by 
the library staff. 


(7) Prisotis 

Prison libraries are still in their earliest stages. It is only just be- 
coming dear that the safest and most fruitful treatment for a criminal 
is, if possible, to change his habit of thought, and -that, in spite of the 
large subnormal and illiterate element among those in confinement, the 
skilful use of books is one of the best means to this end. About 90 per 
cent of the prison population have never gone to school beyond the 
eighth grade ; consequently the books must be appropriately selected. 
With such care and attention as is given the same type of reader in the 
good library, the indications are that prisoners would improve their 
opportunities to the utmost. 

In the library of the Sherborn Reformatory for Women, at Framing- 
ham, Massachusetts, the women are freely admitted to the shelves, and 
are allowed to remain in the room and read the books. This unusual 
liberty has worked out most successfolly in this institution. 

The admirable cooperation of the officials of the City Prison of 
Brooklyn has made it possible for the Brooklyn Public Library to ren- 
der there a finer service than prison authorities have usually permitted. 
The following excerpt is from a recent report: 

" It is at the noon exercise period that the librarians pay their 
weekly visit. On a table at one end of the long corridor between 
the cell tiers the books are displayed while the men are at liberty 
in the corridor. The prisoners who desire books make their own 
selection, and are allowed to take as many books as they wish. 
Two librarians are at hand to help when needed in the selection 
of the books, and to care for the clerical routine. This routine is 
made as simple as possible, only the most rudimentary registra- 
tion and charging system being used. The registration merely 
name and cell number gives tibe librarian an opportunity for 
acquaintance with the prisoner, and provides a natural opening for 
him to ask her help if he desires it. 

44 A more diversified set of tastes would be hard to find in any 
public library even of the largest size. From the college graduate 
who wishes to make use of his enforced leisure by reading the 
Greek classics in the original, to the Chinaman who, begging in 
broken English for * book in Chinee,' seems doomed to disappoint- 
ment until a happy thought of the librarian sends him away with 
gleaming eyes and bowing profuse thanks with a copy of the Na- 
tional Geographic filled with pictures of China clasped in his arms, 
tibe men, one and all, are eager for books. The lack of formality in 
routine, combined with the stimulus provided by the sight of so 
many of their better-educated comrades availing themselves of the 


privilege, results in applications for books from even the most il- 
literate of the prisoners, men who, under normal circumstances, 
would never enter a public library. 

"Many foreign seamen find themselves in trouble for small of- 
fences as soon as they reach these shores. This is due in part to 
their lack of knowledge of the language. Here is an opportunity, 
or rather an obligation, which the library has not been slow to ac- 
cept. Books on civics, simple American histories and books on Eng- 
lish for foreigners are provided, and are in constant use. The chief 
difficulty is to find books in language simple enough for the for- 
eigners. As it is impossible to furnish books especially written for 
each language encountered, it is necessary to provide books, when- 
ever possible, where the English word appearing under its appro- 
priate picture makes the use of the book possible for the foreigner 
ignorant of even one word of English. 

"In addition to the regular recreational reading there has de- 
veloped from the first a steady demand for textbooks of different 
sorts, histories, especially American histories, arithmetics and espe- 
cially technical books of all kinds, the men in many cases realizing 
that their enforced leisure may be put to advantage for their fu- 
ture good." 

Such are some of the more exceptional phases of library activity re- 
quiring in each case the attentive administration of experienced and 
skilful persons. In addition there may readily be distinguished certain 
special information services, if that term may be thus limited in an 
institution whose whole function it essentially describes. 

(8) Special Information Services 

These are of three general types, of which the first is naturally by far 
the most important and extensive. It consists in advising the individual 
citizen either by personal card, group notice, newspaper listings, or pub- 
lic bulletins of some sort, that specific books or information, in which 
he is believed to be interested, are at his disposal. Many libraries have 
personal lists as already noted in the case of Pittsburgh; the "inter- 
est file' 5 of the Portland, Oregon, Library, and the "hobby" lists of the 
Indianapolis Teachers' Library follow the same principle. Large use is 
made of professional groups, unions, clubs, and so forth, to reach the 
individuals composing them. Several libraries clip the vital statistics in 
the newspapers for suggestions as to mailing notices of good books on 
care of infants and home-making in general. The Indianapolis Library 
depends heavily on an enormous series of multigraphed book-lists 


concise, helpful, interesting, attractive, and varied. These lists are ad- 
dressed to definite tastes or occupations. They are used as 

"stuffers in packages, correspondence and pay envelopes; as en- 
closures in theatre and convention programs; as stimulators ac- 
companying library and educational talks, as reminders of library 
service at luncheons and throughout the schools; as bookmarks 
and guides to better reading at the libraries, etc., etc. They are 
distributed from 'Take one home* tables in the library and its 
branches, and are placed in all sorts of places, from cigar stands 
to bank counters." 

The analysis of community interests with relation to the library 
that an extensive service of this sort presupposes has only just begun, 
and is susceptible of enormous development. In the case of the great 
majority of the men, women, and children, if they can for some pur- 
pose be brought even occasionally to a center where books are used 
and valued, their attachment is likely to follow, and the influence of 
the library as a disseminator of ideas becomes immense. Everything 
depends upon the skill with which personal contacts are made and fol- 
lowed up, and success requires a large and capable staff. 

A second type of information service is largely a matter of social 
convenience a sort of first aid to the public; but its value in fixing 
attention and in habituating enquirers to depend upon the library as 
an unfailing community resource is considerable. 

For this purpose the library prepares itself to give all sorts of cur- 
rent information not requiring extensive book reference and including 
fugitive local items. It keeps a complete up-to-date directory of all 
events going on in the city day by day, as at St. Louis. It knows all 
the dubs and organizations of the vicinity, their officers and activities, 
as at Newark, New Jersey. Here, too, is a list of local halls and audi- 
toriums available for various purposes; even an inventory of local speak- 
ers and the subjects with which tibey deal. One provides free notarial 
service. A bureau of this sort at Boston has telephone and street di- 
rectories of the nearby cities and towns, railway and steamship time 
tables and guides, town and road maps, and catalogues of schools and 
colleges. Its files contain many features of special interest, such as the 
vocational file, 

" which consists of some 850 folders each containing information 
clippings, school catalogues, pamphlets in regard to a partic- 
ular vocation and the means of becoming fitted for it; the Con- 


gressional file, with material on important matters before Con- 
gress; the current events file with material on outstanding events 
assembled for the use of students; and other similar material." 

Facilities of this kind are the outgrowth of an altered conception of 
a public library's function. Instead of the library becoming a place 
of storage for certain traditional bodies of knowledge contained in 
books merely for their own sake, it becomes the warehouse and market 
exchange for all permanently important or temporarily useful infor- 
mation, in whatever form, that a given community may find to its ad- 
vantage; in place of a remote temple of occasional and select learning, 
the enquirer finds a busy center of practical community affairs, at- 
tracting every one by its convenient supply of some practical detail 
that he must have, and eventually holding him by its constant sug- 
gestion of the more significant knowledge that will extend his hori- 
zon. Residents of cities where diverse railroad facilities converge with- 
out exception at a central point realize how greatly this fact alone 
simplifies and economizes one important aspect of life; a trip to the 
coast or to a suburb falls into the same well-known formula. An iden- 
tical release from confusion would apparently result, were a city to 
assemble at some handy point the material for its actual current men- 
tal needs, however trivial, and organize it, together with that substan- 
tial knowledge that suits its more occasional requirements, into a con- 
sistent whole, instead of fumbling for it in a dozen quarters as at 
present. In that case, for either stranger or citizen a trip to the library 
would unlock the whole combination. This again is mainly a problem 
of efficient personnel. 

A third type of information service is devoted to telling the public 
what in general the library is and can do. This is an important part 
of "publicity" as the modern library understands it, and much has 
been made of it. Quite probably something of the sort will always be 
valuable up to a certain point. Reminders of the librar/s offerings in- 
serted in factory pay envelopes, or sent out from stores with monthly 
statements; display cases of books on the street or exhibits in shop 
windows, in banks, at fairs, or at festivals; signs and posters of every 
sort; personally conducted visits of groups and classes through the li- 
brary, these and many other devices, some of them exceedingly in- 
genious, have doubtless proved useful in arousing momentary attention. 

The danger in some of these measures is that they axe easily imi- 


tated and may be employed when the library itself is in no position to 
make good the expectations thereby excited. It is emphatically true of 
a library that the person who goes out thoroughly satisfied is the most 
compelling advertisement that exists, and will increase circulation so 
rapidly as to render most other "publicity" unnecessary. The patron 
is the only honest measure of service. Unfortunately, he too often is 
like the stranger who declared: "I went into the library but couldn't 
get the thing I wanted; they told me to look in that index-thing and 
find a number; so I came out, and I'll never go into the place again." 
It is one thing, and an easy thing, to advertise; it is a wholly differ- 
ent thing so to prepare and administer a group of services relating to 
ideas that a large majority of the applicants shall be dealt with to their 
obvious and conscious advantage, shall receive more than they an- 
ticipated. This requires no advertising, but it cannot be done without 
a highly developed personnel. 

E. Library a/nd Inter-Library Extension 

The foregoing evidences of progress in library administration have 
chiefly concerned the situation in centers of population, where contact 
with the books may usually be had at first hand. It is disconcerting, 
however, to discover that less than one-half of the population of the 
United States have direct access to centers where a good library service 
could possibly exist. Small towns, villages, and the entire rural popu- 
lation are thus summarily cut off from a privilege that is fundamental 
to their welfare, unless means can be found to extend these oppor- 

The early notion was that this could be done by multiplying small 
libraries, and nothing has so completely demonstrated the real nature 
of the library problem as the history of this policy. Some value, of 
course, has inevitably attached to the mere fact of a small collection 
of books accessible free of charge as seldom as once a week. But the idea 
that the rural library would, in any considerable number of cases, of it- 
self do relatively as good a job as the city institutions has proved to 
be completely mistaken. Even one thoroughly good librarian and his 
minimum equipment are beyond the financial resources of these small 
centers, and without that personal element the positive usefulness of a 
library is relatively small. 

In order to bring this indispensable factor of intelligent library 
service within reach, not only of small groups, but also of the detached 


farmer, measures of two sorts have been undertaken. One of these is 
the building up of a state library express and postal service, whereby 
individuals anywhere in the state may secure either single books, or 
small collections of books, at the cost of transportation one way. On 
this plan the State of Wisconsin has worked up and now maintains a 
simple, but extraordinarily efficient system of deliveries from a central 
library at Madison. Choosing from a large variety of lists extending 
even to important professional groups, such as medical works, the ap- 
plicant may state his needs with any explanations that he desires to 
add. These receive the careful attention of expert librarians at the 
central office and, if the reader be a serious student, what sometimes 
approaches a correspondence course in the particular topic in hand is 
shortly under way. 

The other plan is the so-called county-unit scheme, now in full opera- 
tion in California, and considered by students of library problems the 
country over to be the ideal type of organization for rural and small 
urban book service. California counties are imperial in their dimen- 
sions, but that fact gives all the more reason to believe that smaller, 
better settled, and more closely knit areas in eastern states could profit 
by this large scale demonstration. 

Forty-two California counties are nowfunctioning as units for library 
purposes, each with a trained and thoroughly experienced professional 
head. These forty-two central libraries operate through about 4000 
branches so strategically placed as to serve the whole population. The 
accessions number more than 2,000,000 volumes, and the total service 
involves a joint county expenditure of over a million dollars annually. 

The revolutionary results obtained from such a system are appar- 
ent in its service to the schools already described (see page 48). The 
individual citizen and his family are quite as thoroughly provided for. 
Not only are the books in the local county at one's disposal: the books 
in all of the counties are catalogued at the State Library, which itself 
has large independent resources, and by a system of county interchange, 
any book in any county may be procured from the library that has it. 

The organization of a county library may be judged by an example 
from a neighboring state, where this type of institution is in successful 
operation. The Umatilla County Library, at Pendleton, Oregon, serves 
ten branches in surrounding towns and sixty-eight rural stations scat- 
tered over the county, some of them sixty miles away. A county board 
of five members handles affairs at the central library and directs the 


policies of the local system. Each town where a branch has been estab- 
lished has a local board that arouses interest in the branch and attends 
to local matters. The central library keeps in close touch with the 
branches by constant interchange of books, personal service of the 
trained staff, and reference work by letter and telephone. 


The foregoing sketch of the educational activities being currently 
undertaken by public libraries is sufficient indication that these insti- 
tutions are successfully embarking on a career of most remarkable sig- 
nificance. That a free community book exchange is destined to be trans- 
formed into an active intelligence center through the addition of a 
competent staff of scholars trained in fitting books to human needs, 
is an idea as dimly perceived to-day as was the free library itself sev- 
enty-five years ago. Nevertheless, could the new features that have just 
been described be combined in one city, the result would be an institu- 
tion of astonishing power, a genuine community university bringing 
intelligence systematically and persuasively to bear on ajPaSult affairs. 
If duplicated from city to city and organized on a regional or county 
basis for rural and semi-urban districts, it would immediately take 
its place as the chief instrument of our common intellectual and cul- 
tural progress. The true educational establishment of a town or city 
would in that case center in the public intelligence organization with 
its many branches whereby needful information would be marshaled 
primarily for adult use. The elementary and secondary schools would 
be the subsidiary feeders for the greater institution, serving the spe- 
cial needs of the young citizen, and training him for progressive self- 
education in the larger environment 



THE common interests of active library executives brought 
them into professional cooperation at an early date. The Amer- 
ican Library Association will be fifty years old in 1926 
a half century of whole-hearted devotion to an absorbing social pur- 


To a layman a consideration of the personnel of this body of pub- 
lic servants is both instructive and inspiring. The profession doubtless 
makes its initial selection among persons of fine and gentle tastes, though 
in proportion as the passive traditions of an earlier day prevail, the 
traits of a bookish recluse or even of the insipid and forceless dilettante 
may predominate. But the active spirits of the library world to-day are 
of another sort, and of such naturally is its organization. When one is 
consumed with an ardent apostleship for the modern "library idea," 
apparently little else matters. Its votaries claim to control human prog- 
ress through education, and they radiate the glow that arises from the 
innermost satisfactions of a high public service. 

As compared with other idealistic professions, such as the ministry 
or public instruction, that of librarianship in the modern sense has 
great advantages. The spectacular platform life of the clergyman in- 
vites, indeed almost compels, a pose that seems frequently to harden or 
to distort character, while the teacher's constant dealings with the im- 
mature and his convenient dependence upon authority almost inevit- 
ably weaken his performance. The habitual activities of the modern 
public librarian, on the other hand, exhaust themselves in pure service 
of a high order voluntarily sought by every age and grade of individ- 
ual for almost every public and private purpose a service rendered 
without pose or pressure, solely on its merits. Indeed, these officers are 
so characteristically self-effacing that the agency through which they 
operate gains too little of the popular credit on which its growth de- 
pends. Such an occupation sufficiently prolonged with active initiative 
can hardly fail to bring out the best qualities of its participants* 

It is probably true that to a critical eye the service of the average 
public librarian appears inadequate, but this relative ineffectualness 


may be due quite as much to the fact that his task is herculean, as to 
deficiencies in his personal equipment. A university president held ac- 
countable for an expert knowledge of the entire curriculum might reveal 
similar shortcomings. To be effective, every library contact with a patron 
must satisfy a concrete and usually unique demand; it must be authori- 
tative in matter and winning in manner. With a sufficient number of 
competent colleagues at his command, a chief librarian's service might 
much more nearly measure up to his opportunity. It is to this ideal of ser- 
vice and to the means for its achievement that the American Library 
Association has devoted its efforts. 

The Association has at the present time over 6000 members, prob- 
ably representing less than one half of the 9000 libraries of all kinds 
now in operation, but including the great majority of the executives and 
heads of divisions in the larger institutions, public, private, and colle- 
giate, as well as practically all state library authorities throughout the 
country. There is no question that the group has from the beginning 
represented the unified leadership of the entire library profession,, and 
does so to-day. Its solidarity is remarkable, when it is considered that 
executives of college and university libraries, of highly specialized tech- 
nical collections, and of public institutions, large and small,have greatly 
diversified problems and requirements. A consciousness of the many 
common elements in their several undertakings appears to have fused 
its members into a single efficient professional agency in striking con- 
trast to the cleavage characteristic, say, of the teachers* associations 
with which it is most easily compared. 

The motive power within the organization is furnished by a full- 
time paid executive secretary and staff working under the supervision 
of a slowly changing executive board. A council of one hundred and 
twenty-five members meets twice each year, and determines the poli- 
cies of the organization. Officers and members of the council, with the 
exception of an ex-officio group, are chosen by the Association at large 
at its annual meeting. The routine work of the Association is done by 
the office staff, but most of the constructive study and research is per- 
formed voluntarily by the members themselves through nearly fifty 
committees. The work and reports of these committees, constitute a con- 
tinual exchange of ideas and experience to the great advantage of the 


whole Association. It is a united profession, industriously at work in a 
systematic and cooperative fashion on its professional problems. 


The scope of the present work of the American Library Association 
has been determined by a crowding evolution that it has been able to 
follow only at great distance. The ideas behind it are so new and so sig- 
nificant that it naturally requires time and pressure to give them shape. 
In face of the insistent demand its activities appear modest, yet it has 
clearly discerned, and to the limit of its present financial resources 
embarked upon, all of the essential functions of such an organization. 
These require a brief analysis. 

A. Preparation of Library Material 

What may eventually prove to be the primary and most extensive 
function of a central library organization is that of a service agency 
providing for all libraries material, usually printed material, which all 
need and must possess in order to do effective work, but which cannot 
be supplied at home, except in the largest libraries, owing to the pro- 
hibitive cost of originating it. The needs of libraries, though varying 
superficially in different localities, axe fundamentally identical in then- 
nature, and could in great measure be successfully supplied from one 
source. This identity of problem has the great advantage of making 
professional experience at one point useful everywhere, so that a cen- 
tral agency, dealing in the carefully analyzed experience of its coop- 
erating membership, would give far more effective service and advice 
than any but the largest local institutions could hope to arrive at in- 

(1) Technical Aids 

The material in question is mainly of two kinds. The first is tech- 
nical matter relating to the proper conduct of the library itself 
aids in book selection and buyers' guides, indexes, studies in library 
economy such as library legislation, building, organization, and admin- 
istration, books on classification, cataloguing, and repair. All of these, 
because they are the outgrowth of long country-wide experience, and 
are continually changing with changing conditions, are indispensable 
to an efficient administration. 


A specialized and pressing need for such material exists in the li- 
brary schools and training classes. These are now conducted almost 
without texts, owing to the practical difficulty of getting the large and 
increasing body of library science and experience well analyzed and 
organized for instruction. Such books as exist are largely the result of 
the cooperative effort of the Association. 

Technical service to libraries might be almost indefinitely extended 
both in existing forms and in wholly new directions. To cite but one 
illustration out of many: In large libraries it costs, by the usual meth- 
ods, from 25 cents to 1 or even more per volume to get books se- 
lected, purchased, accessioned, classified, catalogued, and otherwise 
ready for the reader. If handled at one or more central points, this work 
could be done with an enormous saving in both time and money. Book 
selection has been the jealously guarded prerogative of the librarian 
and his assistants, and has taken much of their attention. It is easy to 
believe, however, as many librarians do, that at least half of any li- 
brary's book fund could be as wisely and more promptly invested by 
a competent authority like that in charge of the Association's "Book 
List," in books that any library of a given size should have, leaving 
the remainder to be locally selected in view of the special needs of 
the community. The library staff would thus be freed somewhat for 
its more difficult task of distribution. 

(2) Interpretive Material for the Reader 

The second kind of printed material includes that whole body of 
matter the purpose of which is to assist the enquirer, whatever his need 
or condition, in making good use of ideas organized in print. In so far 
as most libraries are concerned, it can emanate only from some central 
source. During the past quarter century, where the need has been clearly 
conceived, libraries have built up out of their experience a knowledge 
of the total diversified population, as scientific and reliable, so far as it 
goes, as anything done in the schools. This study is in its early stages, 
but where systematically pursued and based upon an intelligent psy- 
chology, it is taking rapid strides. 

The results of observation and experiment of this sort should be 
made available through competent hands and should be procurable 
in all libraries. In the best libraries to-day much of the most helpful 
service to patrons is the result of skilful use of material prepared by 
staffs. In small institutions a single well-trained librarian by using a 


contributed service of this sort can wield the influence of a great organ- 
ization; without it he is like a teacher deprived of text-books, depend- 
ent on his own limited capacity and a very shallow treasury. 

The product assumes an almost infinite variety of forms: posters, 
placards, and leaflets for all manner of information as to how ideas may 
be found in print at libraries, together with experienced directions for 
the use of various mediums for circulating such information ; exhib- 
its of library resources for many occasions; book-lists or folders telling 
concretely for each field or vocation, and for each grade of worker in 
each field, what ideas useful to him may be found in certain books, and 
showing the relations between books, or parts of books, on his subject; 
brief monographs setting forth the charm of a group of fine biogra- 
phies, or pointing out an easy way into foreign literature, or appreci- 
ating a new historian; studies analyzing the content of books with re- 
lation to the peculiar needs of schools, hospitals, factories, prisons, and 
so forth. 

The value of such material depends on the practical skill with which 
it is prepared. Libraries are not like school boards that have the power 
to inflict upon a helpless beneficiary whatever may meet their appro- 
val The library's output to the prospective reader is in serious dan- 
ger of being ignored; it must exert a genuine attraction or it fails 
altogether. Therein lies -the inevitable corrective which keeps a body 
like the American Library Association as well as each library staff in 
positive and fruitful contact with its public. Therein, furthermore, lies 
also the democratic safeguard that protects the usefulness of the As- 
sociation. The responsible members of the organization are public ser- 
vants holding appointment usually from public boards. It is impossible 
that public reaction against improper use of this great service should 
not find an immediate echo and attention in the Association itself. 

The American Library Association issues regularly various types of 
this material. Last year it distributed close to 700,000 copies of its 
publications in the skilful use of a modest budget of $35,000. Its most 
important publication is the " Book List" a monthly appraisal of new 
books based upon the decisions of the book committees in many large 
libraries, supplemented by the judgment of expert reviewers. The list 
so constructed is an indispensable guide to a vast number of smaller 
libraries and collections that are not expertly staffed. This service is 
partly provided from the income of a gift of 8100,000 made by Mr. 
Carnegie in 1902 almost the sole endowment of the Association. It 


accords with his verbal wish then expressed that the proceeds go to aid 
small circulating libraries. 

Clearly, an organization that can perform successfully a service of 
this kind might, through the simple extension of its editorial and pub- 
lishing function alone, become supremely useful to America's vast sys- 
tem of libraries and other educational institutions by supplying an in- 
telligent agency for organizing their printed materials. It should have a 
staff qualified to take a mass of important verified fact, say from child- 
welfare organizations, and as a result of its experience, to advise as to the 
forms of presentation best calculated to reach the largest possible public. 
It should have funds wherewith to command the services of the leaders in 
literature, art, science, and public life for such authoritative and con- 
vincing treatment of books or groups of books as would charge reading 
with powerful interest. It should be enabled eventually, on the basis 
of the demands and opportunities disclosed in library use, to plan and 
supervise the condensation and organization of large areas of techni- 
cal knowledge for the better service of the intelligent layman, to pre- 
pare extensive indexes, bibliographies for research, studies of library 
resources in various fields throughout the country, and in general to 
become the active agent in the suitable preparation and interchange 
of all important ideas in print. 

The other functions of the American Library Association are essen- 
tially such as contribute to make its primary service universal and 
effective. They will always be important, even though subsidiary. 

B. Library Eostermon 

Foremost, doubtless, is the work of library extension. Approxi- 
mately 50 per cent of the population of the United States to-day have 
no convenient access to free library facilities. The dearth is greatest in 
the south and certain portions of the west, as an inspection of the table 
on page 84 reveals, and it is worthy of mention that this regional 
supply of libraries correlates very closely, for whatever reason, with the 
indicated intelligence of the regional groups in the army draft during 
the late war. The ratio of registered borrowers of books ranges from 
more than one in three for a city like Tacoma, Washington, to a very 
much smaller proportion in the backward districts; the average the 
country over is about one in ten. Several states as yet possess no state 
library authority for the local promotion of library interests; in four- 
teen states traveling libraries are unknown. 


The American Library Association labors through its officers either 
alone, or in close cooperation with state authorities, where these exist, 
to change this condition for the better. Though it answers a vast num- 
ber of enquiries with encouragement and instruction as to library or- 
ganization, it should be enabled to provide competent field secretaries 
for the purpose. As has already been pointed out, the most hopeful 
extension movement now in progress is the gradual conversion of small 
local library centers into closely knit county library systems bringing 
excellent book facilities to every farmer's door. Such transformations 
require careful demonstration and promotion. Sound relations between 
libraries and public schools, hospitals, prisons, foreign and profes- 
sional groups, are all forms of extension which require wise and forceful 
effort, either originating with the Association or prosecuted with its 

C. Library Personnel 

The remaining important phase of the Association's activities has 
to do with the development and welfare of library personnel The prob- 
lems of training, certification, placing, and professional advancement 
have received the critical attention of the organization for many years, 
and it is noteworthy that although the question of remuneration has 
not been neglected, it appears to have been considered with singular 
unanimity in terms of better service for the common cause. It is evi- 
dently difficult for the librarian, the veteran certainly, to escape in- 
fection with the missionary spirit. 

The details of the various measures taken by the Association to pro- 
mote personal growth in the profession need not be recounted. There 
is probably no group of responsible men and women which could more 
safely be trusted as the custodian of its own professional standards 
and qualifications. At its general convention in 19&3, steps were taken 
preparatory to the creation of a library training board, the purpose 
of which will be to provide a certain official scrutiny and criticism for 
schools offering training for library work. With a professional group of 
this size, the questions of preparation, examination, and certification, 
however they may be handled, should plainly be considered not from 
the point of view of one or more states, but from that of the nation as 
a whole. 

Even from this brief review of the activities of the American Library 
Association it will be apparent that, unlike the national organizations 
of some other professions, this Association is, and in the nature of 


things should be, an operating concern. The opportunity for so exten- 
sive and distinguished material service resting upon the experienced 
guidance of a compactly organized profession is unusual. An institu- 
tion of this kind with operations fully developed over the United 
States and Canada could profitably absorb resources equal to those of 
one of our larger universities in work that is already clearly indicated, 
and that could be done as well by no other institution. 

An additional advantage of the existing organization of the Ameri- 
can Library Association inheres in the fact that all Canadian library 
interests are included on equal footing with those of the United States 
a feature that was especially dear to Mr. Carnegie. It would seem 
that the popular and widespread aspirations for a great national uni- 
versity that have long been current in this country might perhaps be 
fittingly realized in a genuine university of an entirely new character 
founded for the purpose of meeting conditions peculiar to the New 
World through the organized application of knowledge to popular 
adult use. Such would be the nature of an enlarged Library Associa- 
tion operating on the expanded program here described. In that case 
its continental rather than national scope would be an eloquent recog- 
nition of the essential integrity of North American ideals. 




WITH respect to its gifts for building libraries, the Carnegie 
Corporation, established in 1911, has served chiefly as the 
executor of the wishes of its Founder, whose confidence in 
this use of his wealth had for many years found an extensive, visible 
expression. In fact, the library gifts made through the Corporation have 
been less than one-fourth of the total of such grants from Carnegie 
funds. To appreciate, therefore, the full significance of the influences 
set in operation from this source for the promotion of libraries, it is 
necessary to consider them as the result of one coherent undertaking, 
which had its beginnings far back in the personal experience of its 

The public is not mistaken in associating Mr. Carnegie primarily 
with the free library institutions that frequently bear his name. The 
notion of free and universal access to books as the tools for the acqui- 
sition of fine and useful ideas, as well as for vocational advancement, 
is the contribution by which doubtless he would most willingly be re- 
membered. Not, of course, original with him, this conception acquired 
new and widespread reality through the powerful aid both of his money 
and of his example. He devoted himself to many excellent causes in his 
later years, but none of them commanded the instant and instinctive 
approval of his own convictions as did the purpose to make democracy 
sound by making it intelligent; by assisting those only whose will and 
ability to help themselves could be depended on; and, finally, by re- 
moving from the aids for self-advancement all taint of charity. 

Any review of Mr. Carnegie's library gifts would be superficial with- 
out a more than passing reference to the roots of those convictions 
which inevitably made such gifts the commanding feature of his pro- 
gram for public service. 

The future apostle of free books in America was hewn from a rock 
whose quality he himself scarcely understood until after his own char- 
acteristic predilections had become clearly fixed. Both of his grand- 
fathers were ardent radical sympathizers and local leaders in the period 
of Corn Law agitation in Scotland; one of them was a pamphleteer 


of marked ability. Mr. Carnegie's father was an active participant in 
meetings and supported demonstrations in the same cause. Though of 
a strongly religious nature, he had the courage to leave permanently 
the ancestral church, walking out in the midst of a sermon on infant 
damnation because it offended his intelligence. One is not surprised to 
find such a man the moving spirit in a group of damask-weavers who 
pooled their contributions for the purchase of books, and delegated one 
of their number to read aloud while the others worked ; or to learn that 
the collection so amassed became the first circulating library in Dun- 
fermline the home town where, in 1881, that weaver's wife dedicated 
the first of a long line of libraries with which her son enriched the world. 

As one would expect in a daughter of Thomas Morrison, she was 
an incessant reader and an independent thinker in both religious and 
political matters. "Such is the influence of childhood's earliest associa- 
tions," says Mr. Carnegie in his autobiography, "that it was long be- 
fore I could trust myself to speak respectfully of any privileged class 
or person who had not distinguished himself in some good way and 
therefore earned the right to public respect. There was still the sneer 
behind for mere pedigree." 

With this background of lively ideas the boy of thirteen ended his 
formal schooling, and was transplanted to the congenial soil of repub- 
lican America. Here in the midst of his family's early struggles with 
poverty he unexpectedly came upon a ladder that he knew he could 
climb books. In 1850 Colonel James Anderson of Allegheny turned 
his library of 400 volumes into a "Library Institute" for working boys, 
and attended in person on Saturdays to exchange their books. Shut out 
at first because, as a telegraph messenger, he had no "trade," Andrew 
Carnegie had the initiative to send two well-considered letters to the 
Pittsburgh Dispatch, in which the "Institute" had been announced, 
and finally got the category enlarged to include himself. Thus with a 
book continually by him as he delivered messages, he matriculated in 
a university that he never afterwards abandoned. Macaulay's Essays 
and History, Bancroft's History of the United States, and Lamb's Es- 
says are cited as his particular discoveries in this collection. 

The effect of this apparently minor episode on the ambitious lad 
must have been poignant in the extreme, for to it he invariably assigns 
the origin of his whole library gospel. 

"The result of my own study of the question What is the best gift 
which can be given to a community? is that a free library occu- 


pies the first place, provided the community will accept and main* 
tain it as a public institution, as much a part of the city prop- 
erty as its public schools, and, indeed, an adjunct to these. It is, 
no doubt, possible that my own personal experience may have 
led me to value a free library beyond all other forms of benefi- 
cence. When I was a working boy in Pittsburgh, Colonel Ander- 
son, of Allegheny a name I can never speak without feelings of 
devotional gratitude opened his little library of four hundred 
books to boys. Every Saturday afternoon he was in attendance at 
his house to exchange books. No one but he who has felt it can 
ever know the intense longing with which the arrival of Saturday 
was awaited, that a new book might be had. My brother and Mr. 
Phipps, who have been my principal business partners through life, 
shared with me Colonel Anderson's precious generosity, and it was 
when reveling in the treasures which he opened to us that I re- 
solved, if ever wealth came to me, that it should be used to estab- 
lish free libraries, that other poor boys might receive opportunities 
similar to those for which we were indebted to that noble man." 

And in his address on Ezra Cornell he observes: "He had to borrow 
the books he read in youth, and only such as have had to do this can 
fully realize the necessity for and blessings of the free public library. 
They may be trusted to place it first in all their benefactions." 

These remarks are not merely the sententious reminiscences of an 
old man: they are a creed springing from a vivid emotional as well as 
intellectual experience. During the twenty years at Pittsburgh, while 
laying the foundations of his career, Andrew Carnegie was never far 
from books. His phenomenal knowledge and love of Shakespeare origi- 
nated mainly through the stage, but his general education, supple- 
mented by acute observation and travel, kept pace with his financial 
successes, and was due in great measure to his power of getting ideas 
from print. His library program as later developed was a part of him- 
self his own ideal and experience in self-education objectified for 
others; it was therefore the one form of giving that he felt reasonably 
certain could not do harm or go wrong. 


The date (1850) of Colonel Anderson's generous procedure with his 
private book collection, of which the fifteen-year-old telegraph mes- 
senger was a beneficiary, happens to coincide approximately with the 
beginning of free, public, tax-supported libraries in the United States. 


Earlier municipal examples are cited, such as Salisbury, Connecticut 
(1803), and Peterborough, New Hampshire (18S3), and the notion of 
taxation for book purchase and library maintenance had received legis- 
lative recognition in New York State in provisions (1830) for school 
district libraries. Although the latter were for the use of adults as well 
as school pupils, and were extensively copied in other states, they had 
but slight success. In 1848 the General Court of Massachusetts au- 
thorized the city of Boston to raise $5000 a year for a genuine public 
library, and in 1851 passed a permissive law applying to the state as 
a whole. The idea spread to other states, and from the establishment 
of the Boston Public Library in 1854, it has had a continuous and 
consistent, though not at first a particularly rapid, development. 

The popular belief in a universal free access to good books, purchased 
and maintained out of public funds, appears to have been closely con- 
nected with the growth of the sense of public responsibility for uni- 
versal education. The latter part of the nineteenth century witnessed 
the establishment of free secondary schools and state universities on 
a large scale, and the theory became popular that instead of leaving 
education to the impulse and skill of the individual in overcoming 
obstacles, these should be cleared from his path, and varied facilities 
for education, according to individual capacity, should be provided at 
public expense. 

It is precisely this change in attitude that has created and promoted 
the modern "library idea." Were three successive stages of library pro- 
cedure to be discerned and characterized by the prevailing philosophy 
underlying the free provision and use of books, we should have pro- 
nouncements somewhat as follows : 

The library trustee of the early period would declare that all such 
privileges should be sought and paid for by those who can use them. 
This position was held even by such men as Herbert Spencer and 
Goldwin Smith, who denied that there was any greater obligation for 
a community to furnish free books than to supply free clothing. The 
permissive attitude of the middle period would take pride in the an- 
nouncement that books might be consulted free of charge by those who 
knew what they wished to read. This was the progressive theory that 
commended itself to Mr. Carnegie, who as a student always knew what 
he wanted, and always wanted what the best books of that period had 
to give. In contrast to the foregoing attitude, the ideal of the modern 
public library is to meet every member of the community with the as- 


surance that it lias the books, that it has people who know the books, 
and that it can freely help any one find the ideas he needs. The mod- 
ern library has greatly increased its resources of printed knowledge in 
every direction, and has entrusted these to a group of intelligent and 
friendly interpreters who see to it that they are made folly available. 

Such a transition requires time, and is as yet far from complete. 
Even in 1876, when more than a hundred American librarians came to- 
gether to form the American Library Association, only fourteen of them 
came from free public libraries. Indeed, the organization just men- 
tioned, though consisting largely of librarians in private libraries, was 
doubtless the most important single factor in public library develop- 
ment that has come into being. It was the beginning of a true library 
profession, and since its founding, it has contributed immeasurably to 
the building up of a substantial library science and to the educating of 
the American public in the use of books. Guided by these new impulses 
and favored by social conditions, the public library movement gained 
continually increasing momentum, and toward the end of the century, 
when Mr. Carnegie launched his plan of library giving, the country- 
was familiar with the new institution as a desirable part of its system 
of popular education, and required only the encouragement of con- 
spicuous leadership to make its acceptance practically universal 

This leadership Mr, Carnegie was in a position to provide. It has been 
noted that his first library gift was made in 1881 to Dunfermline, his 
native town in Scotland. The second was given in 1890 to Allegheny, 
the home of his adoption in America. Pittsburgh, its neighbor, in 
1895 received a commodious central library building, which ten years 
later was greatly enlarged; 1 eight branch libraries had been added 
earlier from time to time. Meanwhile three towns, Braddock, Home- 
stead, and Duquesne, where Carnegie industries were located, each ac- 
quired from Kim a sort of welfare center containing a library, but serving 
a somewhat broader purpose. 

It is noteworthy that in all of these earliest gifts the donor appears 
to have had something more in mind than solely a library. Thus at 
Allegheny the institution includes a fine hall and organ; in the mill 

1 These extensions are a part of what is known as " Carnegie Institute," and are controlled by a 
joint board including the library trustees. 


towns, lecture rooms, social rooms, gymnasiums, swimming-pools, and 
so forth, are provided, with the library as the nucleus; at Pittsburgh, 
besides the library, there are a great hall and a concert organ, an ex- 
tensive collection of paintings and sculpture, and a large museum of 
natural history, all magnificently housed. To be sure these last were 
classed by Mr. Carnegie as "wise extravagancies for which public reve- 
nues should not be given." It was his notion that if space were provided, 
patriotic citizens would fill it. 

The underlying idea pervading these several gifts was clearly that of 
a general community institute for art, science, literature, and music. In 
describing his library plan in the "Gospel of Wealth" (1889) he says: 
"Closely allied to the library and, where possible, attached to it, there 
should be rooms for an art gallery and museum, and a hall for such lec- 
tures and instruction as are provided in the Cooper Union." And as 
stated in a letter to the Institute at Pittsburgh : "The Gallery is for the 
masses of the people primarily, not for the select few." In the deed of 
the United Kingdom Trust he explains his hopes from libraries as pop- 
ular " universities": "My reasons for selecting public libraries being my 
belief, as Carlyle has recorded, that the true university of these days 
is a collection of books, and that thus such libraries are entitled to a 
first place as instruments for the elevation of the masses of the people." 

In so far as the developments of his day made it possible, therefore, 
and to a far greater extent than was then prevalent, Mr. Carnegie pos- 
sessed the vision of a true community center for a comprehensive, popu- 
lar education suited to all ages, and strove to make it real. A quarter 
of a century later, with rapidly developing provisions for popular edu- 
cation in libraries, in museums, and in centers of music and dramatic 
art, the plan seems familiar and convincing; it was far different when 
all of these lay in embryo, and when those who would resort to such a 
center were usually those who already possessed the education required 
to make independent interpretations of what they found there. 


The actual progress of Mr. Carnegie's library-giving constitutes an 
interesting record that is worthy of presentation in some detail. The 
diagrams on page 83 indicate year by year the buildings promised and 
those actually erected, together with the amount of funds promised 


and the amounts actually expended, both for public and, in part, for 
institutional libraries in the United States and Canada. The very first 
public libraries given by Mr. Carnegie in the United States do not ap- 
pear. They numbered fourteen in all previous to 1898, and cost a total 
of $1,860,869. Eight of the fourteen were given to Pittsburgh. The 
promises indicated as later than 1917, when gifts for libraries were dis- 
continued, were cases wherein an appropriation had already been deter- 
mined upon, although the actual promise had not been formally made. 

It was required that the community provide a site and bind itself 
to an annual maintenance charge of ten per cent of the cost of the 
building. As time went on, some supervision of building plans was found 
to be necessary to avoid ill-designed and wasteful construction; other- 
wise the appropriation was unconditional. In some states many appli- 
cations were withdrawn when it was discovered that an obligation for 
maintenance was involved. In comparatively few cases, however, has 
that obligation, once assumed, been repudiated. 

Not all promises were taken advantage of; and, as shown in the dia- 
grams, the actual expenditure of funds for construction lagged, some- 
times very considerably, behind the dates when the promises were made. 
The total amount actually expended for public library buildings in 
the United States and Canada reaches tiie sum of $43,665,000. In 
addition to this, $11,849,000 was spent in Great Britain and Ireland, 
and $511,000 in other countries, making a total of 55,655,000 from 
these sources directly for library purposes. 

A comparison, year by year, of the relative number of buildings with 
the relative amounts expended, shows that a large number of small li- 
braries were erected during the later years. Indeed, the small libraries 
greatly outnumber the large ones, though this fact may easily lead to a 
wrong conclusion. The number and distribution of public libraries ac- 
cording to the size of appropriation required is tabulated below. In gen- 
eral, the amount given was in proportion to the population, but it is plain 
from an analysis of the table that although many small libraries were 
erected, an enormously greater population is served, and undoubtedly 
better served, from the fewer large libraries in the larger cities. 

Omitting the 36 main buildings for city systems and the 805 branches 
in 62 cities, it appears that 761, or over one-half (52 per cent) of the 
1463 buildings cost $10,000 or less. These were located in towns with 
an average population in 1920 of 3385 and served a total of 2,576,500 


Buildings costing from $10,000 to $20,000, and located in cities with 
an average population of 7862, numbered 432, and served a total of 
3,396,500. These first two groups included two-thirds (66.1 per cent) 
of all the buildings erected, and constituted 78 per cent of the total 
number of towns or cities having any Carnegie buildings. The total 
population served by these 1193 buildings costing $20,000 or less was 
approximately 5,973,000, while the population served by the remain- 
ing 270 buildings in "one-building" cities numbered 8,850,000. 

The relation of Carnegie libraries to the aggregate city populations 
in cities possessing more than one public library building is difficult 
to estimate exactly owing to the fact that, in certain cities, the Carne- 
gie buildings constitute only a part of the whole system. In all of the 
62 cities where such buildings are found there are 20,181,000 people. 

In general, therefore, a total of at least 35,000,000 may be said to 
have access to library service from Carnegie buildings. This excludes 
any participating rural population not reckoned with the civil com- 
munity, and in California particularly takes no account of the fact that 
many of the small-town libraries are centers of organized county li- 
brary service. 

Such calculations as have been attempted above naturally lead one 
a step further to discover what portion of the population have access 
to library facilities of any sort. The American Library Directory for 
1923 lists 2462 towns and cities in the United States with populations 
of 1000 or more (1920) that have public libraries with which neither 
Mr. Carnegie nor the Corporation have had relations. The total pop- 
ulation in this group comes to 23,825,500, or 22.5 per cent of the pop- 
ulation of continental United States, which in 1920 was 105,710,620. 
The group of Carnegie Library towns and cities in the same area pro- 
duce a total of 32,956,500, or 31 per cent. The joint total, therefore, 
would give 53.5 per cent of the population having access to public 
library facilities, usually in places having at least 1000 inhabitants. 1 

The inclusion of Canada (1921) with the United States gives a total 
population of 114,499,103. Of this total the respective groups given 
above are 21.8 per cent and 30.4 per cent, making 52.2 per cent. For 
the United States and its possessions (117,823,165) the figures are 20.4 
per cent and 28.1 per cent, or a total of 48.5 per cent, and including 

1 The factor of greatest uncertainty in the calculations arises from this arbitrary limitation in 
the size of town. Sixty-three, or 4 per cent of the places having Carnegie libraries, have less 
than 1000 population, and it is probable that a large cumber of similar communities have true 
public libraries of which there is no record, thus extending somewhat, though probably not 
greatly, the proportion having access to such privileges 

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Canada (126,611,648), 19.9 per cent and 27.6 per cent, or a total of 47.5 
per cent. In Canada alone, the grouping gives 13.5 per cent and 21.5 
per cent, or a total of 35 per cent of 8,788,483. 

A graphic representation of the distribution of public libraries in 
continental United States and Canada wi]l be found on a series of maps 
prepared by Mr. Durand Miller, assistant to the Secretary of the Car- 
negie Corporation, and inserted in the Appendix. The first of these is 
an attempt to show the location of public libraries in the United States 
at or about the time when Mr. Carnegie began his library contribu- 
tions on a large scale. The data are drawn from a list issued by the 
Bureau of Education in the report of the Commissioner for 1896, and 
said to be a list of public libraries in the United States of 1000 vol- 
umes and over in 1896. The libraries reported number 971, and it is 
noteworthy that in New England there are very nearly as many as 
appear on the other maps twenty-seven years later. 1 

Map II shows the 1525 places in the United States and Canada in 
which, up to 1924, one or more public library buildings had been pro- 
vided by Mr. Carnegie, or by the Carnegie Corporation. The average 
appropriation to each locality was $28,633. It is not to be supposed, 
of course, that the libraries indicated on Map II are all to be added to 
Map I. Many of them are the same collections in new buildings. Never- 
theless, the increase in number during a quarter century is apparent. 

Map III gives the location in 1923 of 2487 libraries, in towns and 
cities of 1000 population or more, that had been established and con- 
ducted wholly independently of Carnegie funds. This array also in- 
cludes many of the 1896 list, especially in New England. 

Maps II and III together show the existing public library strength of 
the country in 1924 in so far as location is concerned an impressive 
spectacle, of wider import than most Americans appreciate. It seems 
that in more than four thousand American communities, Union and 
Canadian, there exists, free to the public that sustains it, a working 
mechanism for popular self-education, of sound pattern and suscepti- 
ble of indefinite elaboration and expansion. 

The distribution of Carnegie libraries shown in Map II represents 

1 Strictly speaking, the data on Map I are not quite comparable with those on Maps II and III, 
which represent collections in places of 1000 population or more, and not collections of 1000 vol- 
umes as in Map I This difference probably tends rather to enlarge the number than otherwise, 
in comparison with the list based on population Only five of the Carnegie libraries on Map II 
had fewer than 1000 volumes in 1920; in fact only 62, or 4 per cent, had fewer than 2000 volumes, 
although some 63 were m places of less than 1000 population It is probable, therefore, that if 
the first list were adjusted to the population basis of Map III, more of the 1896 listings would 
be cut off than there would be found omitted cases to be added. 


altogether the initiative of the population in the region concerned. No 
offer of a library was ever made except on the request of interested par- 
ties in the community, and no effort was made at any time by the donors 
to influence a community in accordance with any preconceived policy. 
The conditions were uniform and moderate, and were administered on 
equal terms to all alike. 

Mr. Carnegie's name has been associated with the buildings that he 
gave, rather by reputation, or by some memorial tablet on the struc- 
ture, than by use as the name of the library. In fewer than a third 
(27.1 per cent) of the 1525 localities is his name so used. Twelve states 
with 265 Carnegie libraries do not use the name at all, and in nine 
others it occurs but 34 out of 387 times. On the other hand, four states 
with 129 libraries use the Carnegie name invariably, and in five others 
it is found 148 out of 169 times. There would appear to be some odd 
fashion at work to explain why Iowa, with 99 libraries, should always 
call them "Carnegie" libraries, while Indiana, with 155, should adhere 
throughout to the simple term "Public Library." It is needless to add 
that in no case was the use of the donor's name made a condition of the 
gift Mr. Carnegie himself, while not refusing his name, seems definitely 
to have preferred that the institution recognize fully the proprietorship 
of the community, to which he always insisted that it be committed. 



IT requires no formal evidence to convince even the casual observer, 
who is familiar with American towns and cities, that the free public 
library is already an accepted and cherished figure in American intel- 
lectual life. Even in its most elementary form, the symbol that it affords 
compensates largely for the practical service that it has not yet learned 
to accomplish. The situation that it now presents raises questions not as 
to its worth, but solely as to the direction and character of its growth. 

In the earlier pages of this study an attempt was made to describe 
some of the many problems involved in bringing about the adequate 
diffusion of knowledge throughout a society constituted as the Ameri- 
can democracy is constituted; and to show that the free library, as a 
civic unit, is fitted, beyond any other institution that we possess, to 
undertake that task. Furthermore, reviewing the experience of pro- 
gressive libraries, where exceptional skill and favorable conditions have 
made possible decisive experiments, it has been pointed out that the 
essential factor in enabling a library to perform this greater function 
is an adequately large and competent personnel. The underlying mech- 
anism is well founded and responsive; to operate it successfully as a 
positive educational instrument simply requires what all education re- 
quires, namely, wise and sufficient personal direction. If this conclusion 
be correct, any procedure that will make it clear to the public at large, 
and that at the same time will create the means whereby progressive 
communities may be encouraged to take the steps that it suggests, will 
obviously render an important service to American education. 

Hitherto, interest has been fixed on the establishment of new or larger 
library centers and the need of giving them a home. For those who are 
concerned with the movement as a whole, the emphasis is now shifting 
to another aspect of the problem. Well implanted in the consciousness 
of an intelligent public, the conception of the worth and appropriateness 
of library benefactions has aroused the pride and generosity of private 
donors as well as the emulation of local public authorities. A partial list 
of fresh funds for public libraries during the years 1918-21 numbers 
fifty-five, of which three were from municipal sources, seven from public 
subscriptions, and the remainder from private deed or bequest. The 


splendid gift of $6,000,000, recently made by private donors to the New 
York Public Library is one whose spirit and purpose may easily find 
a match in any community to which the library has become an indis- 
pensable organ of progress. It is plain that such provision for commu- 
nity education should henceforth be a local matter. 

The need that now confronts those who have the educational well- 
being of the nation at heart is of a different nature. It is a need that 
fundamentally involves the vigor and progress of the entire library 
profession, and consequently of every community that it serves. Proba- 
bly in no other group of professional workers is it possible, at one stroke, 
to reach and so profoundly to effect an important public service. This 
is partly because it is not a large group, partly because it is inherently 
a homogeneous and unified group, but largely because it is so disposed 
and organized as to facilitate from a common center operations of great 
material and practical benefit on an extensive scale. Such a situation is 
not so easy for individual benefactors to appreciate; it may well prove, 
however, to be a peculiarly suitable object of study for those who have 
opportunities fox dealing with education as a whole. 

There is set forth below a series of specific objects that must sooner 
or later receive attention in any adequate treatment of the problems 
arising with the development of the modern library movement. The 
ends sought axe fairly revolutionary in their ultimate effect, but are of 
such a nature as to give assurance that relatively small investments 
would accomplish a wholly disproportionate share of the results desired. 

The main headings contemplated in such a program are as follows: 



It is a somewhat remarkable fact that throughout a period marked 
by frequent and more or less thorough scrutiny of educational agen- 
cies of many sortSg and of educational areas of great diversity, -the pub- 
lic library as an agency for education on its own account should have 
entirely escaped critical attention, although mention is made of its 
relations with schools where these have been the subjects of investiga- 
tion. There is Hie most urgent need that this great institution, which 
contains such unequaled promise for the future guidance and refine- 
ment of American thought, manners, and economy, should be delib- 


erately and thoroughly considered. Such a study is due not only for 
the sake of its present managers and sponsors, but that the American 
public may realize the remarkable possibilities in one of the finest pro- 
ducts of their communal activities. 

The librarians themselves have realized the necessity for a study of 
this character, purely for the advancement and better conduct of the 
cause they represent. For several years they have been at work gath- 
ering the necessary facts with a view to giving them such treatment 
as might be possible. An enquiry of this nature should be of the 
broadest and most painstaking character. The intelligent sincerity of 
the American Library Association in going into a tedious and expen- 
sive undertaking of this sort is characteristic; if adequate support could 
be secured, it would doubtless welcome cooperation from outside of its 
own professional ranks, and thus achieve a result of far-reaching im- 


The thesis of the foregoing discussion has been that a modern public 
library organization can completely justify its existence only by means 
of a diversified service that makes useful ideas contained in print help- 
ful and easily available to all of the rational elements in the supporting 
population. Moreover, it was urged that in proportion as this is suc- 
cessfully accomplished public support for such service will be willingly 

Library service in "Hhis sense is in the primitive stages of develop- 
ment, although the main principles of its procedure are clear enough- 
It is handicapped by dependence upon library staffs that are numeri- 
cally quite inadequate; suitable preparation and sufficient remunera- 
tion have been the exception rather than the rule, and all are heavily 
overworked with the routine duties already demanded of them. 

To make genuine service of a high type stand out clearly by con- 
trast, and to explore the possibilities of readjustment in this field, cer- 
tain centers should be taken for demonstrative treatment, and must be 
allowed funds that the averagecommuniiy is not yet prepared to furnish. 
It would naturally be -the final test of the success of such new forms of 
service as might be devised, to discover whether, after trial, the benefi- 


ciary community considered them worth supporting. As in all experi- 
mentation, however, there would be a certain proportion of failure 
and loss. 

It is reasonably certain that the very small library cannot be suc- 
cessfully operated as a separate and independent unit. One of the most 
necessary and valuable forms of experiment, therefore, is that which 
will demonstrate how a satisfactory service may be organized that will 
enable these minor units to function to their capacity. 

For this general purpose prolonged studies should be undertaken, say 
with a large city system; with a small center of the most frequent Car- 
negie type, especially if one be chosen with practically no existing ser- 
vice development; with one or two county library systems, particularly 
in the East where such forms are less familiar; with a medium-sized 
library in the South; and possibly with a library under peculiar con- 
ditions as to foreign, or negro population. It goes without saying that 
such a series of studies should be under the direct supervision of an ap- 
propriate committee of the American Library Association, which would 
bring together the directors of the several undertakings in a general 
laboratory group where constant and expert criticism would be possi- 
ble. Unification would make it feasible also to employ certain func- 
tional advisers for the whole study. Moreover, the results of these vary- 
ing undertakings would acquire unity and force if arrived at through 
certain common channels, and it would naturally be the main object of 
the project to bring the successful outcomes to bear as vigorously as 
possible upon public opinion. 


The provision of a sufficient number of thoroughly educated and tech- 
nically trained library workers under conditions suitable for a perma- 
nent career is the salient feature in a properly reorganized library service, 
and should receive immediate attention. It is possible to speak with 
added assurance on this point because of the comprehensive investiga- 
tion of this subject recently made for the Carnegie Corporation by Dr. 
C. C. Williamson. 

For many years the profession itself has fostered the training of its 
recruits, almost without assistance, as a part-time obligation resting 
upon its members, to be discharged without text-books or the most ne- 


cessary aids, and at a compensation close to the vanishing-point. The 
work has proceeded in promiscuous fashion, here at a university and 
there at a library; the standards have been extremely diverse and the 
product of uneven value, while training for certain types of positions 
has been lacking altogether. 

If a rapid and wholesome development is to take place in the pro- 
cess of adjusting libraries to their users, the most vigorous and drastic 
changes should be made at this point. Expert duties in libraries must 
be distinguished from routine duties of a purely clerical sort, and the 
personnel developed accordingly; fall-time teachers andadequate equip- 
ment must be provided; and professional curricula for the higher, re- 
sponsible positions must doubtless be associated with comparable pro- 
fessional curricula in the universities. It is possible, too, that the im- 
mediate situation could be greatly relieved by the opportunity for in- 
dividual selection on a basis of scholarships for experienced library 
workers of unusual promise. 

The whole problem of professional training is an involved one that 
could not reasonably be handled except by the profession itself. It is 
not unwieldy nor particularly difficult, and should certainly respond to 
the careful administration of the new Library Training Board recently 
set up by the American Library Association. Conclusions as to the num- 
ber, kind, and location of schools needed, the requirements for admis- 
sion, the standards of curricula and qualifications for graduations may 
properly be expected from such a body, and outside aid should be so- 
licited and furnished only on its representations where these matters 
are involved. 

It has been shown that the greatest usefulness of free public libra- 
ries is contingent upon the gradual evolution of an educational service 
consciously adjusted to the needs of all elements of the population. In 
that connection it was made clear that a large portion of such a ser- 
vice was nearly identical from one library to another, and that it could 
best be provided by the skilful use of material produced out of the ac- 
cumulated experience of successful library managers in case this could 
be duly organized for such purposes. 

Scarcely less important at the present stage is the provision of ample 
support in the extension and reorganization of library service and ad- 


ministration at many points. The very small libraries cannot operate 
successfully alone. Associated with others, however, in a natural coop- 
erative area, and making use of a service equipment provided by a vig- 
orous central Association, they immediately become the channels of an 
active influence. So, too, in the matter of trained librarians. It will be 
years before the smaller communities can be brought to the point of 
providing for their population at large a library organization equal to 
that, say, of the high school which they now willingly maintain. Yet 
with the constant aid and stimulus of the central body a small, poorly 
trained staff can be made to yield respectable results, and will afford 
ready access for ideas that ultimately will transform local opinion. 

In the case of medium-sized and larger libraries, the usefulness of a 
central source of supply and advice is almost if not quite as great. It is 
not a question of a standardizing agency that assists the backward but 
hampers and levels down theprogressive units. Indeed,it isnot aquestion 
of a "standardizing" agency at all, except possibly in certain aspects of 
training for library service. Thelargest and most successful organizations 
are to-day the Association's most staunch supporters; its extended use- 
fulness would relieve and strengUien them immeasurably for the treat- 
mentof local difficulties that each library must handle in adifferent way. 

A visit to the present headquarters of the American Library Asso- 
ciation and a study of its available resources would demonstrate to any 
impartial observer the existence of a need and an opportunity. The 
Association should be adequately housed, ultimately in a building of 
its own ; and substantial increases should be made to the endowment 
funds which must necessarily supplement its income from membership 
fees. As in all planning for the future, "there is an element of risk in as- 
signing great responsibilities to an organization that has hitherto been 
faithful over a few things only. On that account the Association's ac- 
tivities should develop in a gradual manner that should prove its sound- 
ness. Inasmuch as its ultimate dependence, direct or indirect, will nat- 
urally be upon library organizations throughout the country, the erec- 
tion of a central endowment might reasonably run parallel with in- 
creasing direct financial support in exchange for tangible services ren- 
dered to member libraries. 






Library appropriations made by Andrew Carnegie and by the Carnegie Corporation 



Communities possessing public libraries of 1000 volumes or more in 1896 


Communities possessing Carnegie library buildings in 1983 


Communities of 1000 population or more in 

libraries unaided by Carnegie funds 







































Rhode Island 







South Carolina 







South Dakota 




District of Columbia 















































West Virginia ' 

























































British Columbia 














New Brunswick 







Nova Scotia 








New Hampshire 




Prince Edward Island 


New Jersey 






New Mexico 






New York 






North Carolina 






North Dakota 









ADULT, inculcation of ideas in, unham- 
pered by certain distractions attached 
to instruction in schools, 9, 10. 

Adult education, purposeless forms of, 
6, 7 ; intellectual considerations gener- 
ally subordinate to social ones in, 6; 
special library service for, 38 ff. 

Advertising, commercial, 10. 

Akron, Ohio, future of intelligence ser- 
vice in, 15, 16. 

Alien immigrants, Americanization work 
with, in Seattle, 41-45. 

Allegheny, Pa., Carnegie's second library 
gift made to, 69, 70. And see Anderson. 

American Child Health Association, 11. 

American Law Institute, a movement of 
almost revolutionary significance, 18; 
purposes of, 18. 

American Library Association, r61e of, in 
promotion of library service, 57 ff; 
monthly "Book List" of, 61; Canada 
included in organization of, 64; func- 
tion of, 69 ; the most important single 
factor in public-library development, 
69 ; engaged in general enquiry into the 
whole problem of public libraries, 77; 
Library Training Board established by, 
79; needs of, for proper extension of its 
usefulness, 80. And see Contents. 

American Library Directory, 72 

American Medical Association, Journal 
of, 18 

Anderson, James, founds Library Insti- 
tute at Allegheny, Pa., 66, 67. 

Associated Press, 5. 

BALTIMOEE, municipal orchestra at, 24 

Bancroft, George, History of the United 
States, 66. 

Bibliographies, SO. 

Books, as a means of diffusion of know- 
ledge, 5ff.; lack of training in use of, 
7, 8, 12; methods of supplying the lack, 
12 ff.; lists of, on special subiects, 20; 
Carnegie's love for, 66, 67. AncU^ Pub- 
he Libraries. 

Boston Public Library, information ser- 
vice of, 52, 53; 68. 

Branch libraries, 29, 30, 36-38. 

Brooklyn, N. Y., Library, branch of, in 
City Prison, 37, 50, il. 

CAUFOHNIA, county unit system in, 55. 
Canada, library interests in, included in 

organization of A. L. A. , 64; figures con- 
cerning Carnegie libraries in, 71, 72. 

Cancer, Society for Control of, 11. 

Carnegie, Andrew, his grandfathers and 
parents and their characters, 65, 66; his 
theory of the use of libraries, 68; his 

Slan of library-giving, 69 ff ; underly- 
ig idea of his gifts, 70; how his name 
is associated with the libraries he gave, 
74; mentioned, 3, 24, 61, 64 Quoted: 
(Autobiography), 66, 67; (Address on 
Ezra Cornely,67;((?o5pZo/TFeaKA),70. 

Carnegie Corporation, charter and pur- 
pose of, 3, 11. And see Contents. 

Chicago Library, Reader's Bureauof, 38, 
39; 40. 

Clear thinking, present status of, 9, 

Cleveland, Ohio, general library service 
in, described, 28-33; teacher-librarians 
in, 28, 29; special and branch libraries, 
29, 30, 36 ; popular non-politicalsupport 
of, 32 and n , municipal reference li- 
brary, 34 ; follow-up systemat,40; men- 
tioned, 35, 46. 

Community intelligence service, for dif- 
fusion of knowledge, described, 12ff.; 
use of syllabi in, 19 ; and of "Outlines," 
19 ; use of lectures and conferences in, 
21; the true genius of, 22; use of mo- 
tion pictures in, 23, 24; possibilities of, 
summarized, 35; the underlying idea of 
Carnegie gifts, 70. 

Cornell, Ezra, 67. 

Correspondence schools, 20. 

County libraries, free, 48, 49. 
County unit scheme of distribution of 
books, in California, 55. 

DAYTON, Ohio, book wagon library, 37 ; 

Dennison Manufacturing Co., library of, 

Detroit Library, 35; Reader's Assistant 

at, 39. 
Discovery of Knowledge, two kinds of, 9. 

And see Knowledge. 
Dunfermhne, Scotland, Carnegie's first 

library gift made to, 69. 

ECONOMIC Research, National Bureau 

of, 11. 

Economics, Institute of, 11. 
Education, universal, at public expense, 

theory of, and the "library idea," 68. 



Einstein, Albert, 4 

El Paso, Texas, Library, 35. 

Expert personnel, importance of , in com- 
munity intelligence service, 13 ff.; es- 
sential qualifications of, 17. 

Express and postal service in distribution 
of books, 55. 

FRAMINGHAM, Mass , Library, 37. 
" Friends of Reading," 47. 

GRAND Rapids, Mich., Library, follow- 
up system, 40. 

HOSPITALS, branch libraries in. See Sioux 

IMMIGRANT Publication Society, 11. 

Immigrants. See Alien immigrants 

Indiana, names of Carnegie libraries in, 

Indianapolis Library, vacation reading 
contests in, 48; book-lists, 51, 52 

Indianapolis Teachers' Library, "hobby 
lists" of, 51; 34. 

Individual mental traits, characters, etc , 
recognition and definition of, 9, 10, 11. 

Information, problem of dealing with, in- 
creasing volume and complexity of, 8, 9. 

Intelligence service. See Community in- 
telligence service. 

Iowa, names of Carnegie libraries in, 74. 

JAMES, William, 19. 
Journalism, 10. 

KERN County, Cal , Library, service of, 
in schools, 48, 49. 

Knowledge, relative importance of dis- 
covery and diffusion of, 3, 4 ; machinery 
for diffusion of, 4 ft; evidence of pres- 
sure toward rational organization for 
diffusion of, 8, 9 ; examples of adapta- 
tion of, to special types of users, 11-20; 
simplification of, 17 ff ; need of recast- 
ing to suit special conditions, 18, 19 ; 
diffusion of, the chief function of com- 
munity libraries, 27, 28 And see Books, 
Community intelligence service, Li- 
brary service, Public libraries. 

LAMB, Charles, Essays, 66. 

"Library idea," the, three stages in the 

development of, 68, 69 
Library Institute, Allegheny, Pa., 66. 
Library service, recent developments in, 

27 ff.; in Cleveland Library, 28-33 ; spe- 

cialization in Newark, 33, 34, in Indian- 
apolis^; departmental specialization, 
35, 36; provisions for distribution of 
books sub-stations, special collec- 
tions of divers kinds, book wagons, etc. , 
in typical libraries, 36-38 ; the personal 
element in, 38 ; provision for adult edu- 
cation, 38-40; provision for Amencani- 
zationmSeattle, 41-45; lecture courses, 
46; library clubs for adults,46,47; school 
libraries, 47-50; service in hospitals, 49, 
and prisons, 50, 51 ; information service, 
51-54 ; lacking for half of population of 
the United States, 54, 62, 72; proposed 
methods of extension of, 54, 55; in- 
ter-library express and postal service, 
55; the county-unit scheme, 55; the 
A. L. A. and, 57 ff.; efforts of A. L. A. 
toward extension of, 63; suggested pro- 
gram for future development of, 76 ff.; 
its development retarded by inadequate 
preparation and remuneration, 77; 
need of organization to enable very 
small libraries to function efficiently, 
78, 80. And see Community intelligence 
service, Public libraries. 

Library Training Board, 79. 

Los Angeles Library, 46. 

M.ACAtJLAY, Lord, Essays, 66. 

Massachusetts, earliest legislation con- 
cerning public libraries in, 68. 

Mental training, present status of, 9. 

Miller, Durand, 73. 

Milwaukee Library, 40. 

Morrison, Thomas, Carnegie's maternal 
grandfather, 66. 

Motion pictures, educational function of, 
22, 23. 

Music departments in libraries, 35, 36. 

NATIONAL Health Council, booklets of, 


New Bedford, Mass., Library, 46. 
New York City, 24. 
New YorkState, early provision for school 

libraries in, 68. 

Newark, N. J., business library at, 33. 
Newark Library, "Get-Wise-Quick" 

folder, 39 ; information service of, 52. 
Newspapers and periodicals, method of 

diffusion of ideas by, 5. 
Northampton, Mass., 24. 

OAKLAND, Cal., Library, 35. 

Omaha Technical High School, library 

of, 47. 
"Outlines," in special fields, 19. 


PENDLETOX, Ore., 55. 

Personnel, in library service, 38, 53, 54 ; 
the A. L. A., and, 63; importance of, 
78, 79. And see Expert personnel. 

Peterborough, N. H., 68. 

Phipps, Henry, 67. 

Pine Island, Minn., 47. 

Pittsburgh, Carnegie's library gift to, 69 
and W ,70,71. 

Pittsburgh Library, 35, 51. 

Pomona, CaL, Library, 35. 

Portland, Me , 24. 

Portland, Ore., Library, " interest file, " 
51; 35 

Prison, branch library in. See Brooklyn. 

Propaganda See Publicity. 

Public libraries, free, tax-supported, pos- 
sibilities of development of, 26, 27; 
chief function of, 37, 28 ; relations be- 
tween schools and, 47-49 ; great influ- 
ence of, as disseminators of ideas, 52- 
54 ; changed conception of functions 
of, 53, community service of, 56; be- 
ginning of, in the United States, 67, 68 ; 
fixed status of, in American intellec- 
tual life, 75 ; private gifts to, 75, 76; 
present urgent needs of, 76 ff.; as an 
educational agency, 76, 77 ; duties of 
experts in, to be distinguished from 
routine duties, 79; upon what then- 
greatest usefulness depends, 79, 80. 
And see Branch libraries, Library ser- 

" Publicity," importance of, in modern 
organizations, 10; in public-library ser- 
vice, 27, 53, 54. 

RADIO broadcasting, 24, 25, 40. 
Regina, Canada, Library, 46. 
Relativity, theory of, multiple interpre- 
tations of, 4. 

ST. Louis Library, book wagon service 

of, 37; clubs in, 46; 36, 52. 
Salisbury, Conn., 68. 
Schools, effect of factitious elements in, 

Seattle Library, branches of, 36, 37; 

Americanization work of, described, 


Self-education, lack of training for, 7. 
Sherborn, Mass., Reformatory, library 

at, 50. 
Sioux City, Iowa, library service in hos- 

pitals, 37, 49. 
Smith, Goldwin, 68. 
Spencer, Herbert, 68. 
Syllabi, use of, in library service, 19. 
Syracuse, N. Y., 47. 

TACOMA, Wash., 62. 

Teacher, should be free andunhampered, 

9 ; his success, how measured, 10. 
Teacher-librarians, in Cleveland, 28, 29. 
Teaching, skilful, paramountimportance 

of, 9. 
Technology departments in libraries, 35. 

TJ MATILLA County, Ore., Library, 55, 56. 

United States, library service available 
to about half of people of, 54, 62, 72 ; 
and Canada, amount expended by 
Carnegie for public libraries m, 71, 

University extension courses, 31. 

Utica, N.Y., Library, 35. 

, C. C., 78. 

YORK, Pa., Library, and the schools, 48. 
Youngstown, Ohio, Library, branch of, 
37 ; and the schools, 48. 

Presented to the Library by